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Encore guests, employees must wear masks when casino reopens

Massachusetts casinos don’t know when they’ll be able to open, but they’re planning ahead.

Encore Boston Harbor is planning a deliberate reopening.
Encore Boston Harbor is planning a deliberate reopening.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/file

All guests and employees at Encore Boston Harbor will have to wear masks when the casino gets the all-clear to reopen. Craps and roulette tables will likely be dormant until management figures out a way to offer the games with social distancing. Hotel rooms will sit vacant for at least a day after every checkout.

The Everett resort and its parent company, Wynn Resorts, laid out their plan in a 23-page document that offers granular detail on sanitation procedures and other public health measures that they hope will make regulators and guests more confident that people can visit safely.

“We’ll do everything possible to create a healthy, but fun, environment for people to enjoy,” Encore Boston Harbor president Brian Gullbrants said in an interview Monday. “Because if you’re worried about your health and safety, it’s going to be hard to enjoy your meal, or enjoy your entertainment experience.”

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The plan also includes plexiglass shields to separate people, and regular temperature checks for employees and guests. Many of the measures were laid out in a document previously prepared by Wynn to discuss its ideas for reopening its casinos in Las Vegas.

All three of the state’s casinos have been closed since March 15 under measures enacted to limit the spread of COVID-19. Gullbrants said on Monday that he does not know when his facility will reopen. He expects that Encore could be ready in 10 to 14 days after it gets the all-clear, but he has no illusions that such an approval will come soon.

Gullbrants said he supports Governor Charlie Baker’s four-stage plan for reopening the economy.

“We should take it slow, and carefully, and make sure that each phase is executed correctly," Gullbrants said. “We do not anticipate or want to be in phase one, and we certainly believe we’ll be in one of the last phases.”

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Gullbrants said Encore and the state’s other casinos recently presented their plans for reopening to a panel convened by Baker to think through the process. Encore is also in discussions with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which will make its own decision about how long casinos remain closed.


Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.