Welcome Back: Encore Re-Opens Its Doors with No Issues, Steady Crowd

The sounds of Frank Sinatra music or sultry Peggy Lee tunes in the Encore Boston Harbor resort had been off since March until this past week – as employees began to return for training in the run up to last Sunday’s reopening.

It was music to everyone’s ears.

There had been only a handful of people in the casino for months, no restaurants, no vibe, and no fun, said President Eric Gullbrants during a tour of the resort last Thursday, prior to Sunday’s opening.

The Encore flower carousel was newly decorated with horses and Pegasus draped with sashes reading ‘Welcome Back’ and ‘We Missed You’ placed at the only entrance to the resort casino. It was the first thing most visitors saw when Encore re-opened on Sunday, July 12, after being closed since March.
Encore President Brian Gullbrants stands behind one of the hundreds of new Plexiglas barriers that have been installed at the gaming stations on the casino floor. He said it wasn’t hard to equip the casino for COVID-19 regulations, but it was expensive and time-consuming.

“There were no flowers in here at all,” said Gullbrants. “It was very quiet and lifeless and it’s coming back to life. There was no music here. We just put that back on. It was definitely quiet because there was no music and no employees and the most important thing – no people. It was just a few of us really. The resort is being brought back to life now. I feel the heart and soul of our company coming back to life.”

Encore had been shuttered since late March when they voluntarily closed just ahead of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) vote to close casinos, which was only lifted this month. Some 5,000 employees at Encore were not able to return to work in that time, though the company did continue to pay them into June. Two weeks ago, the company announced they would likely have to furlough 3,000 employees, but that has already been dialed back.

By opening on Sunday, 2,700 employees had been called back, and more could be brought back if things continue to go well.

“Our team members were elated and so happy to be back,” Gullbrants said. “I would say we’re more appreciative of them than they are of us. I know we paid everyone in the interim, but I’m just grateful they are coming back. They didn’t have to stay around, but they did. We have a really tremendous staff. Very few people have left…If demand is high and we can open additional areas, we will. That will only be when it’s safe. I have to say the week has been like a homecoming for us.”

On Sunday, there were a steady flow of guests and everyone was ready to get out and enjoy the resort again – yet another homecoming for guests who had not been able to visit the resort.

A spokesman confirmed they had a great opening without any issues.

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