Indiana’s Rising Star Casino to use PPP loan to bring back workers for possible mid-June reopening
After receiving much-awaited approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC), the Rising Star Casino Resort is now preparing to bring back nearly a quarter of its total workforce for a tentative mid-June reopening.
The Rising Sun, Indiana-based entertainment venue has received a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan to help bring back laid off workers. PPP is a federal assistance program for small businesses. However, casinos were excluded from the program after the Small Business
Administration initially prohibited businesses that derive more than one-third of their revenue from gambling. However, after repeated appeals to the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, casinos were also deemed eligible for PPP loans.
Ben Douglass, General Manager of the Rising Star Casino Resort, said that the federal assistance would give them the ability to be fully staffed by the anticipated reopening date of June 14, 2020. It may be noted here that the Rising Star Casino, which is the largest employer in the state’s smallest county, discharged 407 of its 443 employees at the end of March.
Speaking on the topic, Mr. Douglass said, “By the end of the month we will have about 100 employees working full time, plus the PPP loan will give us the ability to be fully staffed for an anticipated opening date of June 14, pending IGC approval.”
Mr. Douglass further added that the casino resort, including gaming machines and tables, will be deep cleaned, repaired and renovated in anticipation of specific requirements in wake of corona virus pandemic. Nonessential businesses, including casinos, were ordered to suspend their operations after COVID-19 outbreak in mid March this year. After the prolonged shutdowns, casino operators throughout the United States are impatient to resume operations. However, health authorities are still concerned as they believe that reopening casinos could assist a second wave of corona virus pandemic.
The post-COVID-19 journey will surely not be easy for many businesses as they will have to implement some really strong guidelines and safeguards in addition to curtailing capacity. The health safety protocols includes requirements like sanitization of high-traffic areas in casinos, making guests and workers to wear facemasks, and marking off certain areas to help maintain social distancing.
Many casinos in different parts of the country have already resumed operations. For instance, Las Vegas-based Full House recently confirmed that its Silver Slipper Casino in Mississippi has reopened. The Silver Slipper is the company’s flagship casino, accounting for nearly half of the company’s total revenue last year.
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