Although FireKeeper's Casino and Hotel in Battle Creek stayed open during the latest COVID-19 restrictions by using their tribal status - managed by federal law -  they’ve decided that it’s safer to close New Year’s Eve rather than stay open.

WWMT reports that the casino has announced they’ll be closing to the public at 3 pm on New Year’s Eve, one of the busiest nights of the year for casinos, to maintain the safety of guests and staff.

Casino management told the news outlet that they have decided to close to the public and celebrate New Year’s Eve this year with an “invitation-only” event in order to dissuade large groups of people from trying to gather at the entertainment venue as they have in years past. Normally the casino is packed with guests and live music helping ring in the new year.

Jim Wise, Vice President of Marketing for FireKeeper’s told WWMT,

With our occupancy constraints due to social distancing, we can’t be the place where the public goes to party this year. We will instead close to the public, avoid potential traffic nightmares and extended delays to enter the building. Our goal is to advise the public well in advance to allow them to make other New Year’s Eve plans; while we focus on hosting a safe, socially distanced gathering.

The casino will close at 3 p.m. Thursday, with guests expected to be out of the building by 4 p.m., but will re-open New Year’s day at 7 a.m.

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