Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods to Miss Memorial Day Weekend, Remain Closed

Posted on: May 14, 2020, 08:58h. 

Last updated on: May 14, 2020, 09:21h.

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, the two tribal casino resorts in Connecticut, will remain closed through Memorial Day.

Mohegan Sun Foxwoods Connecticut casinos
Mohegan Sun workers are cleaning and sanitizing slot machines, but the Connecticut casino will remain closed for at least another week and a half. (Image: Cloe Poisson/Connecticut Mirror)

Both properties have been closed since March 16. The tribal properties do not need to adhere to state orders, as they’re on sovereign territory. But the casinos shut down in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mohegan Sun had hoped to resume operations this week, but that will not happen.

Mohegan Sun will remain closed to the public through at least May 26th, with no opening date determined at this time,” a Mohegan Sun statement read.

The casino owned and operated by the Mohegan Tribe said it is working with state health officials “to make an informed decision” as to when it’s appropriate to welcome back guests.

Out of Woods?

Foxwoods has canceled all reservations until May 24 But the casino said it likely won’t be open for Memorial Day.

“Our current plans don’t have a specific opening date,” said Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler to the Fairfield Citizen. But Butler added that “on or before Memorial Day is not likely, given the amount of preparations our team is doing to make Foxwoods a safe environment for team members and guests alike.”

Butler said Foxwoods is developing a phased reopening plan. When the casino unlocks it doors, various safety precautions will be in place, including social distancing measures and “some of the most stringent safety and health protocols in the industry.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said this week that even June would be too early for the tribes to reopen their large casino resorts. “That strikes me as pretty soon,” Lamont said regarding Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods considering reopening in the coming weeks.

“I’d like to talk to the sovereign nations,” Lamont explained. “A drive up from New York or a drive down from Massachusetts is the opposite of what we’d want to see.”

Connecticut is smack in the middle of the US coronavirus epicenter.

State                     Cases          Deaths

New York              340,661      27,477

New Jersey          141,560       9,714

Massachusetts    80,497        5,315

Connecticut         34,855        3,125

Those four states account for 43 percent of all the cases in the United States, and 54 percent of deaths.

Casinos Closed

Should Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun open, Lamont is concerned gamblers in nearby states will drive to the Connecticut casinos.

Massachusetts’ three commercial casinos – Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park – remain shuttered. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) hopes to begin reopening some businesses May 18, but casinos won’t likely be included.

Upstate New York casinos – Resorts World Catskills, Rivers, Tioga Downs, and Del Lago – are closed indefinitely, as are the two downstate racinos – Resorts World New York City and Empire City.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said this week that Atlantic City casinos are not even remotely close to reopening.