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Mississippi Coast casinos are making coronavirus layoffs permanent. Here's how many.

Gulfport Sun Herald logo Gulfport Sun Herald 7/8/2020 By Mary Perez, The Sun Herald

Hundreds of temporary layoffs at Mississippi Coast casinos are about to become permanent as the coronavirus continues to disrupt business across the country.

? Next Tuesday, IP Casino Resort in Biloxi will make 903 layoffs permanent due to COVID-19.

? Boomtown Biloxi gave notice that 149 employees permanently were laid off as of May 15.

? Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis will make layoffs permanent for 167 employees on Aug. 15.

That totals 1,219 jobs between the three casinos.

Coast casinos and dozens of other companies began filing Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications Act — or WARN Act — letters when layoffs started during the March coronavirus shutdown.

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Now some of these businesses are staying closed or moving to permanent layoffs, according to the filings with with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Temporary layoffs

Other casino companies filed WARN notices with the state due to COVID-19 while the casinos were closed from mid-March until May 21.

? Grand Casinos of Biloxi (owner of Harrah’s Gulf Coast Casino) filed on April 30 that it had 612 temporary layoffs.

? Beau Rivage Resort & Casino reported on May 5 that 2,896 temporary layoffs.

? The Hard Rock Café at Hard Rock Casino had 44 temporary restaurant layoffs.

While other casinos also laid off most staff during the shutdown, they aren’t on the list of WARN filings.

The WARN Act requires businesses with more than 100 full-time employees give advance notice of closing or a mass layoff. Under the act, a temporary layoff or furlough that lasts longer than 6 months is considered a job loss.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission allowed the casinos to reopen May 21, two months after they were closed during the new coronavirus pandemic. Casinos are now limited to 50% occupancy, and social distancing is required at the slots, table games, restaurants and other amenities.

Some of the restaurants and amenities haven’t reopened, and last week the Gaming Commission required face masks for everyone in public areas of the casinos.

Seasonal layoffs are common at casinos, and Mississippi isn’t alone in imposing permanent layoffs as the coronavirus continues to impact business worldwide.

Casino layoffs are widespread in Louisiana and other areas of the country, while casinos in some states still haven’t reopened.

Mississippi River casinos

“These layoffs at Penn National Gaming are the unfortunate result of COVID-19 related business circumstances that were sudden, dramatic and beyond our control,” Penn National said in its WARN notice in Pennsylvania.

The company said it couldn’t foresee that the closures would extend across the country, that the drag on business would continue for the foreseeable future, and that the restrictive operating conditions would impact business.

In addition to Boomtown Casino in Biloxi and Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, permanent layoffs at other Penn National casinos in Mississippi are:

? Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, 248 layoffs on July 14

? Hollywood Casino Tunica, 132 layoffs on Aug. 15

? 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica, 49 layoffs on Aug. 15

That is 429 more permanent layoffs, of 1,648 statewide among the casinos that filed WARN letters.

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©2020 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.)

Visit The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.) at www.sunherald.com

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