Effective today, about 1,100 employees at the MGM Grand Detroit casino have been laid off. The cuts are part of MGM’s nationwide downsizing plan, which included the release of 18,000 of its furloughed workers.
The employees laid off were previously furloughed by MGM when the COVID-19 pandemic set in. The layoffs make up approximately a quarter of MGM’s total workforce. Employees who were released were notified by a letter from MGM CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, according to CBS News.
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“While we have safely resumed operations at many of our properties and returned tens of thousands of our colleagues to work, our industry — and country — continues to be impacted by the pandemic, and we have not returned to full operating capacity,” Hornbuckle wrote in the letter.
MGM Grand Detroit employs about 2,800 people. Along with MGM Grand, Detroit’s other two casinos, MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel, reopened on Aug. 5 with capacity restrictions. Neither of those casinos have reported any permanent layoff plans.
MGM Detroit, the UAW and Unite Here Detroit could not be reached for comment.
Once reopened, all three Detroit properties limited operations to 15 percent capacity, a regulation that gambling experts noted as one of the strictest in the country, according to the Detroit Free Press. The 15 percent rule was installed through an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who previously shut down Detroit casinos on March 16.
To enter the premises, all visitors must wear masks and pass temperature checks. Smoking and vaping are no longer allowed on the gaming floor and are only allowed in designed outdoor areas. Bars remain open, but patrons are required to sit at a table or in front of a game or slot machine in order to consume beverages, meaning people are not able to walk around with a drink in hand.
Poker, valet service and self-serve buffets have also been eliminated as part of the new restrictions in place.
Prior to COVID-19, Detroit was receiving nearly $600,000 per day in taxes from the three properties, according to the Free Press.
MGM’s casinos and all others around the country were closed in mid March because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to furloughs of casino employees.
MGM noted that federal law requires companies to provide a date of separation for furloughed workers who have not been called back after six months. That date was Aug. 31 for those who were not able to return to their jobs.
The 18,000 employees who are being terminated will continue to receive health care benefits through Sept. 30. Those laid off could potentially be recalled back to work at a future date, according to CBS News.