Encore Boston Harbor, the $2.6 billion resort casino in Everett, said Monday that it is placing about 3,000 of its employees on an indefinite furlough as it prepares to reopen under guidelines that limit the resort's occupancy.

The casino said it is preparing to reopen its gaming floor, some restaurants and limited hotel capacity, but that employees who work in areas that will remain closed will stay on furlough "until further notice."

"As a result of numerous reductions required for physical distancing we are forced to make very difficult decisions, including the furloughing of approximately 3000 employees and managers," spokeswoman Rosie Salisbury said. "A number of these employees will return to work for training when we have a definitive reopening date. The remainder will remain on furlough until business demand dictates their return."

The casino reported to the Mass. Gaming Commission in March that it had 4,421 employees — 3,303 full-time and 1,118 part-time — meaning that more than two-thirds of its employees will be furloughed for at least a week.

Encore, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino have all been closed since March 15 and, as part of Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan, will not be allowed to open until July 6 at the absolute earliest. When the casinos do reopen, they will have to follow guidelines regulators laid out last week.

"Pending final approval, Encore Boston Harbor plans to reopen the casino gaming area and supporting food and beverage outlets around the casino. It also plans to open the hotel on a limited basis," the company said on its website. "When it re-opens, Encore Boston Harbor will bring back its employees in a thoughtful and measured protocol. Some employees working in the re-opened amenities and restaurants will return to work. Employees, who worked in areas for which a re-opening date is uncertain due to current restrictions, are being placed on furlough until further notice."

~ Colin A. Young/SHNS

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