SPRINGFIELD — As the coronavirus crisis deepens, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Friday extended the shutdown of the state’s three casinos for another month, to noon on May 4.
The Gaming Commission’s vote keeps MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park closed to the public. All three facilities have been closed since March 15, as ordered by the commission.
“This, of course, continues to be such extraordinarily challenging and complex times,” said Cathy Judd-Stein, the commission’s chairwoman.
The unanimous vote is consistent with Gov. Charlie Baker’s shutdown order for non-essential businesses, which is also in place until May 4. The Governor’s order also bans gatherings of more than 10 people in public places.
Baker’s order allows employees to work remotely and allows restaurants to provide take-out service and deliveries.
The commission meeting was held remotely due to the coronavirus, and audio and video recordings are available.
MGM Springfield provided two weeks in severance pay for its workforce, ending last weekend. The workforce was then eligible for unemployment compensation, officials said.
Friday’s vote marks on the second extension of the casino shutdown. On March 25, the commission voted to extend the shutdown through April 7, which was also in line with the state shutdown at that time.
The commission will meet again prior to May 4 to assess the shutdown.
The gaming commission has expressed great concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The initial vote to close the casinos came at a special meeting on March 14.
“That swift action was taken after up-to-date consultation with public health experts and our licensees, who like the Commission, prioritized the health and well-being of casino guests, employees, and regulators,” Judd-Stein said, in a prepared statement on the commission’s website. “At MGC, our hearts are heavy about COVID-19’s growing impact across our great Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.”