Potawatomi Hotel & Casino to close for foreseeable future amid coronavirus concerns

Posted at 11:03 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 17:43:08-04

MILWAUKEE — One of Milwaukee’s largest attractions is the latest business to shut its doors to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is set to close at 5 p.m. on March 17.

CEO Rodney Ferguson said he doesn’t have a timeline on when Potawatomi might reopen, but that it will all depend on the recommendations from U.S. health officials.

This comes as Governor Tony Evers issued a ban on mass gatherings of 50 people or more across Wisconsin.

“Realized that social distancing of six feet is almost impossible for us to be able to manage without potentially having somebody’s life impacted,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said in the past week they’ve canceled meetings, conventions and shows, resulting in a steady decline of guests, even as they ramped up cleaning services.

He’s aware of the governor’s ban on gatherings of 50 people or more taking effect at midnight Tuesday, but said it will take longer than that for them to comply.

“As a business we just simply can’t possibly shut down that quickly without having some disruption of service to our guests as well as to the property,” Ferguson said.

All employees will continue to get paid while the casino is closed.

As of Monday afternoon, there were a total of 4,287 confirmed cases and 74 deaths in the U.S., according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins. 17 people have recovered from the disease.

In Wisconsin, 47 cases have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 13 in Milwaukee County.

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