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Mississippi casinos allowed to reopen May 21

Mississippi’s casinos have been told the Mississippi Gaming Commission will allow them to reopen beginning Thursday, May 21. The guidelines for how those operations will be conducted are expected to be announced Friday.

“We are thrilled. Our team members are excited. There is a bit of trepidation for sure, but we are ready to get back to work,” Ameristar Casino and Hotel General Manager Gerad Hardy said moments after the news of the reopening was shared during Gov. Tate Reeves’ press conference.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission shuttered casinos across Mississippi on March 16 in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“It’s great news. I believe we’re beginning to realize the importance of bringing the economy back and bringing it back, but at the same time, I think we’re using the right method in bringing them back, making certain that we are saving lives and mitigating the spread of the virus at the same time, and I think it can be done,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “I applaud the Gaming Commission for their decision.”

Over the past weeks, Gov. Tate Reeves said the Mississippi Gaming Commission, his office and industry representatives have worked to develop a plan that would allow casinos to reopen by Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, Reeves said that plan he hoped would be announced “sooner rather than later.” Reeves also reminded those attending his daily press conferences when the question of reopenings was asked that it was not his decision to close the casinos, but that it was a decision he supported.

“All of our local and state officials have been working to bring our economy back, and this is one way,” Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Laura Beth Strickland said. “The Gaming Commission has been working to get the casinos open, and this is phase one.

“I know the casinos are making preparations for social distancing and disinfecting the slot machines and the gaming tables,” she said. “We’re looking forward to welcoming our gaming tourists back. This is good news for tourism.”

Vicksburg is home to four casinos: Ameristar, Lady Luck, RiverWalk and Waterview.

The Vicksburg Post is working to gather more details about the reopening plan.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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