Duggan: Detroit's casinos 6 to 12 months away from normal operations

Detroit’s three casinos are at the very least six months away from operating as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Mike Duggan said Wednesday.

“It costs us $600,000 a day, I haven’t complained about it a single time because the health of our community is more important than the revenue coming in,” he said.

The mayor said casinos have been working with the city’s medical advisor Dr. Robert Dunne on what it would take to reopen the casinos, while taking a look at what Las Vegas is doing. 

Duggan said those discussions involve if there’s a point where the casinos reopen with safety protocol, like guests and employees wearing masks, having only a third or a fourth of machines operating, restricting how many people can sit at a table. 

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“Those conversations will occur in the coming weeks. I think we are a long way away -- 6 months, maybe a year -- from the casinos operating the way we’re used to seeing them operate, but I do think it is possible,” Duggan said.

The mayor said he won’t be issuing recommendations to the governor until Dr. Dunne has signed off on them.

He added that as things begin reopening in the coming weeks and/or months, you might see restaurants only using a third or a fourth of the tables, or movie theaters only using a small portion of seats. 

During the pandemic, Greektown Casino-Hotel offered free hotel rooms for Detroit first responders worried they could spread the virus to their loved ones if they returned home after work. 

Casinos owned and operated by Native American tribes in Michigan are not required to follow state law. Island Resort & Casino in the Upper Penninsula announced plans on May 1 to reopen on May 6. The casino has since pushed the opening to May 16. 

Other city updates:

As of Wednesday, the city of Detroit is reporting 9,562 cases and 1,128 deaths. 

After quickly testing nursing homes across the city in a 10-day span, the Detroit Health Department is now working to diminish the spread in long term care, including homes for the aged and adult foster care facilities. 

RELATED: With testing finished, Detroit nursing homes enter recovery phase

So far the city has tested 24 of 37 sites and is reporting a 10% infection rate, said Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair. She said they will be finished by the end of the week, ahead of the May 15 deadline.

“We are focusing really hard on addressing this issue,” she said.

Fair said the city is finalizing its strategy to address the COVID-19 spread at senior home apartment buildings in the 10,000 units across the city.