MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (WTNH)– Foxwoods isn’t taking a gamble on survival during this pandemic.
News 8 has learned the casino will be cutting back on more of its operations.
The Fox Tower looms large over Mashantucket but the pandemic has forced Foxwoods to make the difficult decision to close the hotel for the time being. In a memo to employees last week, that closing was announced along with the Rainmaker casino, as well as cutbacks to Bingo and the Grand Cedar Hotel.
Performances in the Grand Theater which recently revealed new COVID protocols have been halted for now.
With these cutbacks comes the reported furlough of more than a hundred people. Since the pandemic started both of Connecticut casinos have downsized their workforces, which was recently mentioned by state and local leaders talking about the need for affordable healthcare coverage through Access Health Connecticut.
“Two of our largest employers have laid off many workers and the associated vendors with those two large employers have laid off many members, that’s what’s driving most of the issue here in Norwich region,” said State Senator Cathy Osten, (D) Sprague who spoke last week during a press conference outside St. Vincent de Paul Place.
Foxwoods though is finding new ways to reach out to new customers.
It just announced a partnership with DraftKings to try to bring online sports betting to Connecticut once that gets legislative and regulatory approvals, and it also recently announced the addition off four more stores to its Tanger Outlets.
“We’re always a good addition wherever we go,” said Scott Hunter, Owner of CBD American Shaman. “People are always looking for healthy choices. But we seem to feed off the traffic that’s already here.”
Hunter opened his second CBD American Shaman location in the outlets at Foxwoods in October. He says there’s always a concern to see things close down but believes Foxwoods is being proactive by cutting back now.
“We have to look at tomorrow,” said Hunter. “We have to do what we have to do today to be viable tomorrow or down the road.”
News 8 reached out to Foxwoods and received this statement regarding their scaling back:
As we move into the winter season, we’re continuing to stay solely focused on successfully keeping Foxwoods Resort Casino a safe, secure, and fun destination for our guests and team members. We are constantly reevaluating and enhancing health protocols and remain committed to offering new and safe experiences for our guests to enjoy.
We have also been closely monitoring business volumes. Much like other industries, the continued spread of COVID-19 continues to impact our resort due to rising cases and new travel guidelines in place. As a result, we are making some temporary updates to our overall resort offerings and moving towards winter hours and operations. This includes reduced hotel capacity and gaming offerings across some areas of the resort. We will constantly monitor business levels and demand to determine reopening timelines.
Given the changes, we had to make the difficult decision to temporarily furlough less than 100 team members. While this is a painful choice, we feel it is the best path to preserving as many jobs as possible. We hope to bring these team members back as soon as business levels allow us to.
There is still a lot to experience at Foxwoods From the Tanger Outlets and Monza Indoor Karting to can’t-miss restaurants, there is still so much to do and experience this season at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Please check our website to see what is open – www.foxwoods.com.”
– Jason Guyot, interim CEO and president for Foxwoods Resort Casino