The coronavirus pandemic has closed Northwest Indiana's casinos for months, and they are not allowed to reopen until at least June 14.

Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa, which has furloughed employees, is now saying it will permanently lay off 25% to 60% of its workforce in Michigan City. Owner Boyd Gaming warned the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in a Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, that it may lay off as many as 606 workers in Michigan City and another 516 at its casino in Florence just outside Cincinnati.

"Like many businesses across the country and in our industry, Boyd Gaming has been significantly affected by COVID-19 and the mandatory closures of all of our properties since mid-March," Vice President Corporate Human Resources Chris Smith wrote in the letter to the state. "Because of mandatory closures, guest limitations imposed by various regulatory authorities, and overall economic conditions due to the pandemic, Boyd Gaming anticipates that it will conduct permanent layoffs that may impact between 25% and 60% of team members at the Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa. For some team members who are not laid off, we now reasonably expect the current furlough may last longer than six months from the date it began."

The layoffs will take effect between July 1 and July 14. It's not yet known exactly how extensive they will be.

"Due to evolving guidance from public health authorities and government agencies, we cannot currently determine exactly how many team members will be laid off, or which individual team members will be impacted," Smith wrote in the letter to the state. "Boyd Gaming is giving as much notice as is practicable, however, we were unable to provide 60 days’ notice because of the pandemic’s sudden, unforeseeable and dramatic impact on our business."

The layoffs will include culinary workers represented by Local 1 Unite Here AFL-CIO. They will not have bumping rights.

"The pandemic’s effects on our business remain unpredictable," Smith wrote. "Guidance issued by public health authorities and government agencies regarding requirements and precautions that will be necessary to protect our team members, customers and communities as we re-open remain subject to constant updates and modifications as officials learn more about the pandemic. We will provide additional information as we learn more."

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