| Carolyn Noel
SPRINGFIELD – Casinos across the state were given the green light to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on May 29 by Gov. Charlie Baker. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also voted 4-0 to follow and enforce Baker’s regulations at a May 26 meeting. Despite the all-clear, MGM Springfield has said that they will ease into these restriction lifts.
According to Seth Stratton, vice president and general counsel of MGM Springfield, “We’re looking for an ability to return, at our discretion and as business dictates, to a pre-COVID environment. We are looking for flexibility to phase out COVID-related restrictions as we deem fit consistent with state and federal guidance, but we are not looking to eliminate every COVID-related mitigation strategy as of the 29th. That'll be a gradual process and we will of course keep the commission apprised of how that's going,” he said in a State House News Service report.
Returning to pre-pandemic casino operations would allow capacity limits to be rescinded, all slot machines to open, full occupancy at table games, the removal of most plexiglass barriers and allowing fully vaccinated guests to go mask-free. Guests would also be able to walk around the casino with a beverage.
As of June 1, MGM Springfield’s website stated that it is open 24 hours a day and masks are still required. They have not posted an update on when their hotel will be reopening. For now, the status of their poker room is still undecided.
“We’re continuing to monitor needs for poker and whether we will bring that back," said MGM Springfield Compliance Director Daniel Miller in a State House News Service report. "We too have decided to make a decision by or around Dec. 31.”
One pre-pandemic event that MGM Springfield has committed to bringing back are its summer concerts. Free Music Fridays will take place every Friday outside on The Plaza from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Until recently, the status of the concert series was unknown.