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Encore to close hotel amid new restrictions on operating hours

Encore Boston Harbor as seen from the air.
Encore Boston Harbor as seen from the air.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/file

Encore Boston Harbor plans to close its hotel amid new restrictions on the casino’s operating hours, which were instituted as part of new limitations announced by the state Monday in response to growing COVID-19 cases.

Encore president Brian Gullbrants said in a note to employees Monday that the hotel will close effective immediately, and that the resort will reduce its hours starting Friday. The casino, normally a 24-hour operation, will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

The reduced hours are a result of Governor Charlie Baker’s latest effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As part of the new restrictions, which begin Friday, restaurants must halt table service by 9:30 p.m. each day, and other facilities such as gyms, theaters, and casinos will have to close at the same time.

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Encore had already been operating its 671-room hotel at reduced capacity as the facility has sought to build its business back following a four-month closure mandated by the state at the outset of the pandemic. When Encore reopened in July, hotel rooms were available just four days per week.

But without an all-night gambling operation, Encore decided the hotel business would not stand alone.

Gullbrants wrote in his letter that the changes “reflect our initial assessment of business needs and we will continue to adjust and refine as necessary to meet guest demand.”

Monday’s announcement is the latest blow to a casino industry roiled by the economic fallout from the virus. Encore only recently won approval to resume the popular table games craps and roulette, but is still operating with limited capacity and with a reduced slate of games.

The casino, like others in the region, has also cut the size of its workforce amid the monthslong disruption in its business. In August, Encore laid off 385 people who had been on furlough for months. At that time, Encore said it had 2,700 employees still on the job, and another 915 who remained on furlough.

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Encore has not said specifically how the hotel closure might affect staffing levels. The casino kept all of its staff on at full pay from its mid-March closure through June.

Like other casino operators, Encore’s parent company, Wynn Resorts, has seen a huge decline in business because of the pandemic. The company, with properties in Macau, Las Vegas, and Boston, said it lost $637.6 million in this year’s second quarter, which covered the height of the pandemic’s first wave. Encore lost $99.4 million during that time.

During the comparable quarter of 2019, Wynn Resorts had a profit of $94.6 million.



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