There are more signs that the US is rapidly returning to normal following the COVID-19 debacle, despite a few pockets of outbreaks. Mississippi’s casinos are now going to be able to stage a comeback after the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) announced yesterday that all COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted. The changes take effect today and will bring with them a lot of support for the state’s economic recovery efforts.
The End of COVID-19 in the US?
First, it was Nevada, which eased up on its COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week, announcing that many casinos will be able to increase their capacity to 80% starting tomorrow. New York State didn’t waste any time, following suit and announcing an increase in capacity to 50% starting in the middle of May. Mississippi, however, becomes the first to bring back a sense of total normalcy to its gaming market, with the MGC removing all restrictions, including the required use of face masks.
The updates will take effect this afternoon at 5 PM local time, but certain gaming properties could still need to follow certain health guidelines. The MGC’s recension to COVID-19 regulations don’t supersede local or state rules or ordinances, according to the commission’s announcement, and any local health codes will have to be adhered to by casinos. Still, the announcement marks a huge step forward along the path toward recovery for the state.
Mississippi Shows Off
Since March 4, Mississippi casinos were operating at 75% of their normal capacities. Masks were required to be worn in all indoor public areas, with an exception given while eating or drinking. However, the state has shown that it is possible to rebound from the global pandemic and has been quicker at starting recovery efforts than other states. Gaming properties began to reopen on May 21 of last year, having closed down for two months for the pandemic, and the state has been more capable of controlling outbreaks ever since. According to the GM of Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi, Chett Harrison, “Our state I think did it right. Took a period to pull back and see what this (the coronavirus) was.”
Despite the quicker rebound, casinos and other businesses in the state are facing staffing shortages as the summer approaches. There could be more employment opportunities added soon, as well, as the state’s commercial industry continues to pick up. More concerts and live entertainment are coming to the gaming properties, and the Southern Gaming Summit, which had to take a year off last year because of COVID-19, is returning next week. The summit, according to its website, “addresses issues of importance to commercial and tribal gaming in the south and the Midwest.” Although the expo portion won’t be held this year, its return is still an indication that things are getting back on track.