Detroit Casinos Reimplement Mandatory Face Masks, as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Posted on: November 23, 2021, 08:32h. 

Last updated on: November 23, 2021, 09:12h.

Detroit casinos are once again requiring guests to wear face masks while indoors. The operating changes come amid a fall surge of COVID-19 cases.

Detroit casinos face mask Michigan
A sign reminding gamblers at MGM Grand Detroit that face masks are required hangs over the casino floor. Each of the three Detroit casinos have taken the proactive step to require face covering for guests, as new COVID-19 cases arise. (Image: Detroit Free Press)

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel are requiring guests to don face coverings inside. The requirement is in response to Michigan last week recommending — but not mandating — that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in public indoor settings.

Research shows that masks can greatly reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, especially when approximately 40 percent of those who have COVID-19 may be asymptomatic. We can only contain the virus and keep Michigan open if everyone stays careful and masks up when they leave home, whether they feel sick or not,” read a statement from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity have both publicly stated that face masks are mandatory for all indoor guests. Greektown has not issued an official statement on the entry requirement, but told that each guest’s face must be covered for entry to the casino floor.

Holiday Safety

Millions of Americans who didn’t travel during the 2020 holiday season are eager to get out and see their families and friends this year. But in Michigan, as new coronavirus cases climb, health officials are warning the public to embrace safety precautions in an effort to avert a COVID-19 surge. Detroit’s three commercial casino operators are heeding the call.

“MGM Grand Detroit remains committed to the health and safety of our guests and employees,” explained David Tsai, MGM Resorts’ Midwest regional president. Tsai says that unless a guest is actively eating or drinking, they must wear a face mask.

MGM, MotorCity, and Greektown will provide face masks for guests who arrive without one.

AAA forecasts that 53.4 million people in the US will travel this Thanksgiving holiday, which would be a 13 percent increase from last year’s turkey day. If the predicted 53.4 million travelers do embark on a journey, that would bring Thanksgiving travel to within five percent of pre-pandemic levels experienced in 2019.

While Detroit isn’t one of AAA’s top destinations for Thanksgiving, the casinos are expecting an increase in visitors during the four-day celebration.

Anti-maskers will find it difficult to come across a casino in Michigan that isn’t requiring one indoors. Along with the three commercial casinos in Detroit, most tribal casinos are necessitating guests cover their faces.

Masks are also required at the nearby Caesars Windsor across the Detroit River in Canada.

Industry Nearing Pre-Pandemic Return

The reimplementation of face masks might turn away some would-be gamblers this holiday season. The requirement comes just as the three casinos in Detroit were approaching business levels not experienced since the onset of the pandemic.

Brick-and-mortar gross gaming revenue in October totaled $114.1 million. That is only 1.4 percent lower from October 2019 when the three casinos collectively won $115.7 million.

Paired with online casino gambling, which wasn’t operational in 2019, and Detroit’s casinos are taking in much more revenue in 2021 than they did in 2019. Commercial iGaming GGR totaled approximately $82.2 million last month.