MGM Grand reveals strict safety protocol as Detroit casinos prepare to reopen

Posted at 5:16 AM, Jun 26, 2020

(WXYZ) — The Fourth of July is just over a week away, the day Michigan may move into phase 5 under Governor Whitmer’s reopening plan.

Casinos are slated to be a part of that. But as we’ve seen in other industries, there’s no guarantee.

7 Action News reporter Darren Cunningham got a walk-through at MGM Grand in Detroit to see how they’ve been preparing.

The stakes may be high. But MGM says it voluntary developed a reopen protocol, presenting it to the governor's office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

They're collaborating with other casinos, and so they feel they're prepared to reopen safely.

"When you first enter, this is where we can provide hand sanitizer to sanitize obviously," said David Tsai, MGM President and COO. "All guests and employees are required to wear a masks while they're in our facility."

And if you don't have a mask, MGM Grand Casino's got you covered. They've even constructed a hand washing station in the middle of floor, put up plexi glass barriers and removed chairs to further promote social distancing.

But before anyone makes it near the slots, guests and employees will first have to walk by a couple of touchless thermometers, ensuring their temperature isn't elevated.

President and Chief Operating Officer David Tsai says these are just some of the many investments MGM has made on its own accord during the shutdown with health, entertainment, and the local economy at risk.

"We've been closed since March. So we don't have revenue coming in," said Tsai. "That also, I know has affected the tax revenue that we contribute to the state. We are the highest industry, the largest tax contributor to the city of Detroit. Casinos in total comprise 17 percent of the city of Detroit federal funds."

Some may feel like it's a gamble to visit the casino at this point. Others may be feeling lucky or confident in the measures put in place, prepared to take personal responsibility.

Keep in mind, while smoking in casinos is still legal in Michigan, Tsai says it's off limits indoors under these new rules.

"You're also encouraged to wipe down what you touch and wear gloves made available, if you'd like."

Tsai says it's a long road ahead of ensuring health and safety.

"I think the situation we're in is unprecedented for our generation," said Tsai. "I think everything that we're dealing with is complicated. I think it's daunting for anyone, but the team's been great. We're excited. We're in good spirits. We believe in this time of day and age, we need to act smart, and that's why we spent a lot of time really developing our plan."

Staff will also of course be cleaning. Their HVAC system circulates new air about 14 times per hour.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.