CONNECTICUT (CelebrityAccess) — The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe, both federally recognized tribes with reservations in Connecticut, will open portions of major casino resorts on their reservations on June 1st.
The two tribes collaborated together to establish new safety protocols and operating procedures for the sprawling entertainment complexes, which they say are aimed at mitigating the risks of COVID-19 for both guests and employees.
Based on the mutually developed guidelines, each Tribal Nation has developed their own policies that they say will meet or exceed the safety protocols implemented by the State of Connecticut.
Neither property will open its concert venues, buffets or poker rooms and tenant restaurants will be open for take-out only.
Additionally, both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun will be open to residents of Connecticut and Rhode Island only. No out-of-state marketing to New York or Massachusetts will take place at either property and no out-of-state buses will be accepted, the two tribes said.
“The Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan Tribe have called Connecticut home for hundreds of years. We have deep roots within our communities and are fortunate to call many of our neighbors team members and friends,” said James Gessner, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe. “As we developed our new guidelines for reopening which expanded on the rigorous safety policies already in place at Mohegan Sun, the safety of these team members, neighbors, partners and friends were at the forefront of each decision we made. We have spent the past 10 weeks putting extraordinary measures in place including cutting edge technology to protect the safety and health of all individuals who walk through the doors of Mohegan Sun as well as to ensure the safety of our community as a whole.
The new guidelines, which were shared with state officials weeks ago, are based off recommendations from experts nationally and around the globe and have been implemented at several of our other resort destinations across the country – some of which are now open or will be later this month. As we enter our “new normal” we are excited to welcome back our team members who are an extension of our Mohegan family and to once again begin working with many of our local partners and businesses to help stimulate the Connecticut economy,” Gessner added.
Despite the assurances, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont was nonplussed by the news and stated that in his view it was “too early and dangerous” to re-open the casinos.
However, Lamont might not have much to say about it. Both tribal reservations are federally recognized sovereign land, leaving Lamont with little recourse.
Lamont suggested that there were a number of options open to him, including negotiating with the unions that represent casino workers, and warning potential guests about the dangers.
“We could always advise people driving into the casinos, ‘Hey, do you know that the governor has said this is not safe? Especially if you’re over 65. He has said stay safe, stay at home.’ These are the type of warnings I think I’m obligated to tell people before they take part in risky behavior.”
Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, two of the largest casino complexes in the world, have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak.