Detroit casinos going dark
On Sunday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced new, wide-ranging restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of the state’s casinos for three weeks. The public health order will go into effect on Wednesday.
Three commercial casinos are affected by the shutdown mandate: MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino. The two-dozen tribal casinos are not required to abide by the Governor’s order, as they operate on sovereign tribal land. During the shutdowns earlier this year, most tribal casinos did close, but it is unknown if Michigan’s will this time.
The three Detroit casinos were among the last in the country to reopen, as the city was one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring. Even when they were allowed to reopen on August 5, they could only do so at 15 percent capacity.
“We are in the worst moment of this pandemic to date,” Whitmer said. “The situation has never been more dire. We are at the precipice and we need to take some action because as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, the virus will spread, more people will get sick, and there will be more fatalities.”
Michigan’s COVID-19 figures are ghastly
She is not wrong. Michigan’s graph of daily new cases looks like the warped wall on “American Ninja Warrior.” The current seven-day moving average of daily new cases is 7,235. It was under 1,000 at the beginning of October and under 200 in mid-June.
The state’s seven-day moving average of daily deaths is 60, up from 11 at the beginning of October and single digits most of the summer.
The number for the United States as a whole are staggering: a seven-day moving average of over 158,000 new daily cases, up by more than 100,000 from October 1. 200,000 new cases should be hit any day now. The seven-day moving average for daily deaths eclipsed 1,000 last week and is growing every day.
In her executive order, Governor Whitmer explained that there are currently more than 3,000 Michiganders hospitalized with COVID-19, taking up 15 percent of the state’s hospital beds. Michigan and rest of the country are in a world of shit right now and things are not getting better any time soon.
“This is not forever.”
As mentioned, the shutdowns affect much more than just casinos. High schools and colleges will go virtual for the next three weeks, eat-in dining is done, organized sports (except for professional sports) are cancelled, and virtually all other recreation and entertainment is on hold. The live/virtual states of preschool through eighth grade classes is up to the local school districts.
Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said, “Michigan’s house is on fire.”
“The order lasts three weeks and at the end, if we all have done our parts, we will be in a better place,” he added. “This is not forever. What will be forever will be the deaths of loved ones if we do nothing.”
The three affected casinos had little to say about the order.
“We understand these are challenging times and are committed to doing our part for the well-being of our employees, guests and the State of Michigan,” MGM Resorts International said in a company statement. “We look forward to when we can welcome back our guests with a continued focus on our comprehensive health and safety protocols.”