Encore Boston Harbor Furloughs Coming, as Hotel Goes Dark

Posted on: November 7, 2020, 12:02h. 

Last updated on: November 6, 2020, 01:03h.

Encore Boston Harbor, as well as Massachusetts’ two other commercial gaming properties — MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park — implemented reduced operating hours yesterday on Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) orders.

Encore Boston Harbor Wynn Resorts
Wynn Resorts brass says furloughs are coming to Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts. (Image: The Boston Globe)

Effective last night, casinos in Massachusetts must close between 9:30 pm and 5 am local time. Baker’s order is a result of a nearly 300 percent surge in new COVID-19 cases and a 145 percent jump in coronavirus hospitalizations.

Officials at Encore Boston, which is across the Mystic River in Everett, made the decision to close the resort’s 671-room hotel. Though primarily the result of expected low demand with the casino closing overnight, Wynn Resorts claims it’s shuttering the hotel for the “overall well-being of the state” by further limiting the spread of COVID-19.

The Encore Boston casino is closing nightly at 9 pm, 30 minutes before the state order. On the weekends, gaming will resume at 9 am, and will start at noon through the rest of the week.

More Furloughs Coming

Massachusetts’ three casinos were forced to fully close between mid-March until early July. Encore Boston permanently laid off 385 workers in August, and now its parent company says furloughs are imminent.

Closing at nine is going to have quite an impact. What we’re going to do is have a much lower operating expense,” explained Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox during the company’s third quarter earnings call last week. “We’re likely going to see our FTE [full-time employee] count go down by somewhere between 670 and 1,000.”

Since reopening in July, Encore Boston Harbor has been employing approximately 2,700 people. That means the forthcoming furloughs could represent between 25-37 percent of the property’s total workforce.

Baker’s nightly stay-at-home order on Massachusetts residents allows only essential travel, with errands permitted between 9:30 pm and 5 am. That extends to Encore Boston’s restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Maddox says the state order comes during what’s expected to be the property’s busiest time. “More than half of our revenue is generated at the time when we’ll be closed,” Maddox disclosed.

Maddox maintains that the decision to keep the hotel closed is sound.

“I’m sure it’s the right thing to do from a health perspective,” the CEO declared. “The government of Massachusetts has done a terrific job throughout all of this, from Governor Baker to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. We view it as a temporary setback.”

MGM, Plainridge Hours

MGM Springfield’s 250-room hotel has been closed since March. The casino says there is no concrete date for when it might reopen. As of yesterday, the MGM Springfield casino is operating from 10 am to 9:30 pm daily.

Plainridge Park, owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, is a slots-only facility that does not have a hotel. Plainridge Park’s operating hours are now 7 am to 9:30 pm daily, but no one will be permitted entry after 8:30 pm.