Some furloughed MGM employees may not be back this year, CEO says

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands of MGM Resorts workers are currently being furloughed while their properties nationwide remain shut down due to COVID-19, and now the company’s acting CEO admits that some of those employees may not be able to come back to work this year.

In a letter sent this week to company employees, MGM Acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle said they are hopeful that they will be able to recover quickly from the economic impact of COVID-19, but they are facing major challenges.

“… We are realistic in our understanding that domestic travel will be significantly decreased for the remainder of 2020, and could continue through the early part of next year,” Hornbuckle wrote.

He went on to write: “When we first furloughed our employees, we hoped the spread of the virus could be contained or that an effective treatment would emerge quickly. We hoped that a substantial portion of our operations would bounce back by the summer. However, that outlook has continued to evolve as COVID-19 cases spread throughout the world. Based on the current situation, we now believe that some of our colleagues may not return to work this year. And, given the continued uncertainty facing our industry, we simply don’t know just how many employees will return to work within the coming months.”

MGM properties, including MGM Springfield, have been temporarily shut down since March due to concerns over COVID-19 and social distancing mandates. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has voted to keep MGM Springfield closed through at least May 18, and the closure could be extended beyond that, pending Governor Charlie Baker’s instructions on re-opening of non-essential businesses.

The company has extended health benefits for furloughed employees through August 31. They had originally been set to expire on June 30.

MGM Resorts released the following statement to 22News:

“The COVID-19 pandemic represents, without a doubt, the greatest challenge ever faced by our company and industry. The past month and a half has required incredibly painful decisions as we’ve focused on using our resources to best support our employees, our communities and our company’s long-term health.

One of our key priorities throughout this public health crisis is ensuring employees who are on our health plans have continued access to health care, even if they are not currently working. Today, given the continued uncertainty, we decided to extend our commitment to providing health benefits for furloughed employees who are currently enrolled in our health plans with coverage through August 31, 2020.

Our company is continually working on plans to reopen our properties, welcome guests and bring back as many employees as possible – as soon as it is safe to do. While we’re hopeful that our industry’s recovery will be swift, we now believe that it may take some time for business to return to pre-pandemic levels. We’re committed to being as transparent with our employees as possible, so they can plan accordingly and do what is best for themselves and their families.”

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