MEMPHIS, Tenn. — All Mississippi casinos will close until further notice at midnight Monday to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, state officials said.
The closures affect six casinos in Tunica and Robinsonville: 1st Jackpot, Horseshoe, Fitzgerald’s, Sam’s Town, Hollywood and Gold Strike Casino Resort, which announced earlier on social media that it would close. Isle of Capri in Lula, Mississippi would also be affected.
Southland Casino Racing, in West Memphis, Arkansas, announced late Monday night it would be closing at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning due to the coronavirus. All activities have been canceled, including casino promotions.
“It’s imperative that we did this,” Executive Director of Mississippi’s Gaming Commission Allen Godfrey said in a phone interview. “I think it was the right choice.”
Many of the casinos, including Gold Strike, released statements saying ‘the health and well-being of employees and guests is top priority.’
However, these closures mean rough days are ahead for some communities.
“For Tunica county, the casino industry is the major revenue source,” Godfrey said. “That main revenue is coming to a stop.”
People living in the community say they are concerned for the local economy.
“If the casinos fold, then the people fold. The community folds,” Benny Milton said. “The community is already down in the dumps. Now it’s more in the dumps.”
Some casinos have plans to mitigate the effect this will have on employees.
Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday he signed an executive order that activates the Mississippi National Guard to support mobile testing units.
The governor also urged all schools to extend spring break until March 20.