President Trump Extends Social Distancing To April 30, Casinos Likely Shut Down Until Then

Posted on: March 29, 2020, 10:25h. 

Last updated on: March 30, 2020, 09:54h.

President Donald Trump said in his daily COVID-19 press briefing Sunday that the social distancing guidelines the federal government recommends will be extended until at least the end of April.

President Trump, seen here briefing the press on COVID-19 last Thursday, told reporters Sunday the recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus will be extended to April 30. (Image: Tia Dufour/The White House)

More details, including the reasoning behind the extension, will be revealed, the President told reporters, likely by Tuesday evening.

Currently, the projected peak death rate is expected to hit the US in about two weeks, President Trump added. By June 1, the country could be “well on the road to recovery.” However, that’s contingent on residents following the CDC’s recommendations.

Those recommendations include refraining from social gatherings of more than 10 people, working from home if possible, and eschewing any discretionary travel. It also includes maintaining a minimum of six feet of distance between people known or suspected to have the coronavirus.

The better you do,” Trump said. “The faster this whole nightmare will end.”

From a gaming perspective, it means with the Trump task force’s COVID-19 guidelines still in effect, casinos will almost assuredly remain closed for the time being. As of Thursday, only seven of the 989 tribal and commercial casinos were still open, according to the American Gaming Association.

It also likely means major professional sports will remain on hiatus through April. The only major sporting events still on the schedule for next month include the NFL Draft April 23-25, a UFC fight card on April 18, and thoroughbred horse racing at such tracks as Oaklawn Racing and Gaming and Gulfstream Park.

None of those events will take place in front of fans, and the NFL had to drastically revise what would have been a live draft on the Las Vegas Strip.

Pokagon Tribe Extends Four Winds Closure

By the time Trump made his COVID-19 announcement Sunday, some casinos had already announced their closures would last longer than initially planned.

The Pokagon Gaming Authority announced this weekend that it will extend the closure of its Four Winds Casinos in Michigan and Indiana on an indefinite basis.

In a release from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, tribal officials said the decision was made after considering requests from leaders in both states urging individuals to remain at their homes to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Four Winds casinos closed on the morning of March 17. At that time, tribal officials said employees would be paid during the initial two-week shutdown.

“The Pokagon Gaming Authority is reviewing options to assist employees during this difficult time,” the updated statement read.

Four Winds has locations in Dowagiac, Mich.; Hartford, Mich.; New Buffalo, Mich.; and South Bend, Ind.

Orders Also Extend Casino Closures in Midwestern States

The initial Four Winds announcement came after the state-licensed casinos in Indiana and Michigan were shut down by the respective states because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since tribal casinos operate on sovereign territory, state-issued orders do not apply to them.

The states’ orders were due to end on Monday. However, since then, both Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have issued new ones that require residents to stay at their homes with few exceptions, such as going to work or shopping at an essential business. Indiana’s order is set to end on April 7, with Michigan’s order ending a week later. However, both are likely to be extended.

Illinois casinos, which closed around the same time as Michigan and Indiana, have also seen the order forcing their shutdown extended until April 8. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has a stay-at-home order set to expire on April 7. Like Michigan and Indiana, both Illinois and Ohio will likely see their orders extended.