As tribal casinos Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun reopened their doors to the public on Monday without caring for Connecticut health authorities’ repeated warnings, the state has placed warning signs on roadways near the entertainment properties to warn potential visitors of deadly risk of corona virus.
Over the weekend, the two tribal casinos resumed operations by first opening their doors to select guests by ensuring invitation-only entries. Starting Monday, they opened their doors to the general public, despite repeated warning from Governor Ned Lamont’s office. As of Monday this week, Connecticut health authorities registered more than 40,000 corona virus infections, including 3,539 deaths.
Gov. Lamont had repeatedly objected to the two tribal casinos’ reopening plans, saying that that it was not the right time for reopening nonessential businesses like casinos as it could assist a second wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths. The Democratic governor wanted the tribal casinos to defer their reopening dates at least to the end of June. In a press conference, the governor even threatened that state officials would contact casino employees and potential visitors to warn them of looming COVID19-related health risks.
In response to the tribal casinos’ openings, the state placed warning on roadways read, “DON’T GAMBLE W/COVID” and “AVOID LG. INDOOR GATHERINGS.”
Rodney A. Butler, the chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, defended the tribal casinos’ controversial decision of resuming operations without consulting the state health authorities, arguing that they have made big investments to adapt to new challenges created by the corona virus pandemic. The tribal casino operators stressed that the safety and health of the community, guests and workers remained their top priority. The casino operator claimed that they have ensured proper social distancing by keeping seats at least six feet apart and installing protective barriers like plexiglass at gaming tables to help gamers avoid direct touch. Hygiene practices have been enhanced and anybody entering the facilities is being asked to wear facemask.
It is quite interesting to note here that Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun casinos are owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe, respectively. As the two properties are on their own sovereign lands, the two Native American groups aren’t required under their federal recognition to abide by the state governor’s orders.