With comprehensive safety protocols put in place, the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino in Wilkes-Barre will reopen on Monday, June 22 at 10am after being shuttered for over three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The racino, which is owned and operated by Downs Racing, L.P, a subsidiary of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, has been closed since March 16, 2020, when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered a statewide shutdown to all nonessential businesses.
A message from Mohegan Sun Pocono President and General Manager, Anthony Carlucci, posted to the casino’s website, read…
“Over the past few months Mohegan Sun Pocono has been laser-focused on preparing our property for a safe reopen and we’re really excited to welcome back both our valued guests and more of our incredible team members on June 22nd.
“With the guidance of industry experts, regulatory agencies, and in closely mirroring the comprehensive protocols put in place by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment‘s (MGE) flagship property in Connecticut, we feel we are well-prepared for our doors to open and can’t wait to welcome guests to a clean, safe and fun environment.”
According to the website, various slot machines have been turned off and seating at table games will be limited to encourage safe distancing practices, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers have been added throughout the property and to avoid overcrowding, capacity monitoring of the gaming floor has also been established.
Along with other businesses and amenities such as valet parking, Seasons Buffet, pools, gyms and Spa Sapphire, for now, the Poker room will remain closed until further notice while live racing at the harness racing track is also at a standstill, however, operations are expected to resume “very soon.” There will also be reduced seating at restaurants and bars, and only patio or atrium seating will be provided.
Meanwhile, the 238-room and suite hotel at the Plains Township gaming and entertainment facility will resume operations on Sunday, June 28th, and starting on Monday, June 22nd reservations will begin being accepted.
Along with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s massive Foxwoods Resort Casino, the Mohegan Tribe’s flagship property in Uncasville, Connecticut, Mohegan Sun, reopened on June 1st despite Governor Ned Lamont’s concerns at the time. Due to the two tribe’s sovereign status, neither of the casinos is subject to the governor’s executive orders.
Pennsylvania “green phase” reopenings:
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh in Allegheny County and the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County were the first casinos to reopen, on June 9. The two casinos are located in counties that entered the green phase of Governor Wolf’s three-phase reopening plan.
Last week the Northeastern state’s 47th governor added eight more counties, including Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Schuylkill, Monroe, Perry, Pike, and Luzerne, to the least restrictive “green phase” of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County recently reopened the Mount Airy Golf Club and while the Poconos casino has yet to officially announce reopening plans, a June 3 post on its Facebook page informs that it will begin accepting reservation on June 19th.
Neighboring state casino reopenings:
Of the competing commercial casinos in the bordering states of West Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland…
…Delaware North‘s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack reopened earlier this month with reduced capacity and hours, while Mardi Gras Casino in Kanawha County, Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Hancock County and the casino at The Greenbrier have also opened for business after Governor Jim Justice gave the green light on June 5; Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Casino at Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway & Casino in Delaware have reopened on June 1st under Governor John Carney’s phase one guidelines.
Ohio, New York & New Jersey:
Meanwhile, on Friday, June 5, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the state’s casinos and racinos can reopen to the public as early as June 18, while in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has given no indication when the state’s casinos and horse tracks with video-lottery terminals can begin to reopen. Earlier this month, New Jersey Governor. Phil Murphy said they are trying to get the state’s now-shuttered casinos reopened either before or by July 4th. Atlantic City has been hit especially hard by its casino closings, with approximately 26,000 people out of work.
Maryland Live Casino & Hotel announced Monday that it will reopen at 6am on June 29, however, the patrons will only be allowed to enter the casino by advanced online reservation due to limited capacity. Under its phased approach to reopening, from Friday, June 28, the casino will reportedly begin a series of “Member Days” for its Live! Rewards Cardholders who will also be required to make advanced online reservations prior to admission.
Last week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he was easing more restrictions and with local approval, casinos would be able to reopen beginning at 5pm on Friday, June 19. Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County will also reopen its casino, hotel, restaurants and golf course on Friday. The spa will remain closed.