You Still Have To Wear A Mask In Most Michigan Casinos — For Now

Written By Matt Schoch on May 17, 2021 - Last Updated on May 24, 2021

Despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifting the mask requirement for fully vaccinated residents over the weekend, masks are still required in most most Michigan casinos, although that’s changing by the day.

In Detroit, the ban has been lifted, though neither Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit nor MotorCity Casino has made an announcement to update their policies.

Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos are starting to announce they are lifting their mask requirements. Here is the list that no longer require you to wear a mask if you are fully vaccinated:

  • FireKeepers Casino, Battle Creek
  • Four Winds Casinos, Dowagiac, Hartford and New Buffalo
  • Leelanau Sands, Peshawbestown
  • Little River Casino, Manistee
  • Odawa Casinos, Petoskey and Mackinaw City
  • Saganing Eagles Landing, Standish
  • Soaring Eagle, Mount Pleasant
  • Turtle Creek, Williamsburg

Whitmer’s announcement this month came one day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their mandates. As of last week morning, masks were no longer required for anyone outside, and fully vaccinated people could go maskless inside.

However, certain local, state and tribal laws, rules and regulations can override the unmasking, including local business and workplace guidance.

Michigan board’s guidelines for casinos adjusted Monday

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is in charge of regulations for the Detroit casinos.

On Monday, an updated order does not require masks for fully vaccinated individuals.

The order states that casinos must make a “good-faith effort” to ensure the mask requirement is enforced for those who are not vaccinated. That effort may include signage, asking persons not wearing a mask whether they fall into a specified exception, continuing to require masks, or other similar policy designed to ensure compliance.

MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean told PlayMichigan that “casino management has the discretion to continue the mask requirement.”

No Upper Peninsula casinos have yet lifted mask mandates

Although no Upper Peninsula casino has yet lifted its mandate completely, Ojibwa Casinos in Baraga and Marquette don’t require masks while you’re seated at a slot machine. Same goes for Island Resort in Harris.

Kewadin Casinos, a chain of five in Michigan’s U.P., has not yet lifted the mandate.

“We are happy that our efforts and the vaccines are paying off and are eager to see your smiling faces again,” their statement says. “However, at this time, we will be continuing with our current policy of requiring masks at all Kewadin Casinos. Once our health officials have had time to evaluate and provide updated policies to protect our team members, customers and communities, we will share that update with you.

Bay Mills Casino in Brimley announced it is also reviewing its policy.

“We at Bay Mills Resort & Casino are pleased to see the recent announcements from the CDC and Governor Whitmer regarding the lifting of mask mandates for vaccinated individuals. It has been a difficult time for us all and we are happy that a return to our normal lives is perhaps just around the corner,” a statement read.

“However, given that the announcements came with little warning, we at Bay Mills have not had time to fully review the new guidelines.

“At this time, we will be maintaining our current policy of requiring masks for all guests on the floor until such time as we may identify and implement a structure to cooperate with the new CDC guidelines.”

PlayMichigan will update this story regularly in the coming days as we discover more details.

Photo by Matt Schoch/PlayMichigan
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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