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Seminole Hard Rock Casinos Will Close Statewide Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Seminole Hard Rock building
Seminole Hard Rock Casino
Seminole Hard Rock casinos will be closing temporarily statewide to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

Seminole Hard Rock casinos across Florida will close temporarily to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

In a release, officials said all Seminole casinos – including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa – will close Friday at 6 p.m.

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“This decision was not taken lightly as Seminole Gaming employs nearly 14,000 Seminole Gaming team members in the state,” the release read. “The goal has been to protect their livelihood without jeopardizing public safety.

“We have now reached a point where we do not feel comfortable taking that risk.”

The move comes after Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, admonished the casino for remaining open and not doing enough to help in efforts to contain coronavirus.

“I’m demanding that Seminole Hard Rock join with other businesses and close their doors for the next 30 days,” said Toledo during a Wednesday news conference outside the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe. “Heed the advice of public health officials, protect your employees like Disney and Universal have, show you care about our community as much as you are showing you care about the bottom line.”

In a statement Friday, Toledo praised the casinos for their decision to shut down.

“I'm extremely pleased that the Seminole Tribe, and the leadership of the Seminole Hard Rock, decided to temporarily close its doors,” Toledo said in a release. “The health and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance as we battle this pandemic and operating the casino presents a health risk to workers, patrons, and our community at-large.

“I want to thank everyone who reached out to our office to support this closure and to those who offered insight into the potential dangers of continuing to operate the casino at this time. I am hopeful the Seminole Hard Rock will continue to prioritize their employees and provide financial assistance while the doors are closed.”

The Seminole locations that will be closed until further notice:

  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
  • Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee
  • Seminole Casino Brighton
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
  • Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
  • Seminole Classic Casino (Hollywood)

The Seminole casinos join other establishments in temporarily closing, including Tampa Bay Downs, Calder Casino in Miami Downs, the Casino at Gulfstream Park, the Big Easy Casino in Hallandale Beach, and the Casino @ Dania Beach.
WUSF intern Vanessa Henry contributed to this report.

I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.
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