COVID-19 Shots Now Available for Casino Staff and Massachusetts Residents at Encore Boston Harbor

  • The Moderna vaccine will be available at the clinic operated by Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Current COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts are significantly down from late 2020, early 2021
  • MGM Springfield successfully stopped a large indoor gathering set to take place at its resort
  • The past two Saturdays in April registered “the busiest days for Encore and MGM” properties


path leading up to the Encore Boston Harbor casino resort in Massachusetts
A ballroom at Encore Boston Harbor in Massachusetts is now hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for casino staff and eligible state residents. [Image:]

Encore ballroom-turned-clinic now open

The Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Massachusetts has opened up one of its ballrooms as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for staff and state residents aged 18 and over.

Everett, Massachusetts Mayor Carlo DeMaria shared news of the Tuesday opening via Twitter:

According to Cambridge Health Alliance, the operator of the clinic, eligible people will receive the Moderna vaccine. The ballroom-turned-clinic can administer around 350 shots per day, and will operate Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 3:30pm.

ballroom-turned-clinic can administer around 350 shots per day

On April 27, new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts were at 965, significantly down on the 9,003 cases recorded on January 2, according to statistics published by The New York Times.

From shutdowns to breaking up a party

Wynn Resorts-owned Encore Boston Park is one of Massachusetts’ three commercial casinos, along with MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park. After reeling from an enforced four-month shutdown after the pandemic first struck in March last year, the three casinos reopened in July 2020.

Just days ahead of reopening in July, Encore Boston Harbor placed 3,000 staff on furlough. At the time, parent company Wynn Resorts said it spent $3m a day on its staff between March and May, costing the company around $220m. But as COVID-19 cases spiked in late 2020, Governor Charlie Baker in November ordered the casinos to shut at 9:30pm each night, with a 25% capacity ceiling adding to their woes. Baker loosened these restrictions on Massachusetts’ casinos earlier this year on January 25.

During a Massachussets Gaming Commission (MGC) meeting on Monday, the regulator’s investigations and enforcement bureau director Loretta Lillios said the three commercial casinos have demonstrated “continued adherence to the measures that have been put in place for health and safety and they really haven’t let up.”

MGM Springfield put the skids on a party it discovered was being planned at its resort

Lillios also revealed that MGM Springfield put the skids on a party it discovered was being planned at its resort. She said: “Late last week, they were able to intervene in what would have been a party, a large indoor gathering […] That did not happen, their measures allowed them to intervene on that.”

April occupancy up

According to NBC10 Boston, MGC assistant director Bruce Band said on Monday that both Saturdays on April 17 and 24 were “the busiest days for Encore and MGM.” Encore posted figures of 19% occupancy, while MGM weighed in at 21%.

In March, the MGC approved a request by Encore and MGM to expand blackjack tables and reintroduce the game of craps “at their respective gaming establishments.” Craps tables in the state had remained shuttered since March 2020.

In a Public Safety Report issued to the MGC during a remote public meeting on March 25, an analysis shed light on the first eight months of Encore Boston Harbor’s post-pandemic operations. During this time frame, which included three months of closure and another three open with restrictions, Encore drew over 3.5 million visitors.

The study also reported that Encore’s overall effect on crime numbers in the region was “commensurate with a facility of that size hosting that many visitors.” In March, however, Encore was the focus of five indictments, ranging from a baccarat scam to a stabbing crime.

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