In the western American state of Washington and the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort has reportedly re-opened some eight weeks after being temporarily shuttered as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report from local radio broadcaster KNKX, the Snohomish County venue is operated by the federally-recognized Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians and was closed on March 17 so as to help stop the spread of a coronavirus strain that has so far killed 945 people in ‘The Evergreen State’.
Located approximately 45 miles north of Seattle, the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort is one of 29 tribal casinos spread across Washington with its re-opening reportedly coming only eight days after the Kalispel Tribe of Indians revived business at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino on the outskirts of Spokane.
KNKX reported that these re-openings were conducted despite the recent move from Washington Governor Jay Inslee that extended his March 23 coronavirus-related stay-at-home order through to the end of this month. The broadcaster moreover detailed that the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the Squaxin Island Tribe are widely expected to follow suit before the conclusion of next week by having revived operations at their casinos in Thurston County and Mason County respectively.
Ron Allen from the casino-operating Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe serves as Chairman for the Washington Indian Gaming Association and he reportedly told the broadcaster that many of the state’s tribes are re-opening their gambling-friendly establishments early because much of their income is ‘supplemented by these gaming revenues’. He purportedly moreover described the statewide March closures as ‘devastating’ due to the fact that such venues serve as significant local employers and provide funds for everything from child and elder care programs to dental clinics and public safety.
KNKX reported that members of the Washington Indian Gaming Association are to be required to fulfil an extensive list of minimum standards before re-opening their casinos including making certain that workers have access to protective face masks. Allen purportedly additionally stated that ‘most’ re-emerging properties will likely provide patrons with such protections while others are to simply encourage their use.
Allen reportedly told KNKX…
“We highly respect the objectives of the Governor and the state and the health care officials [but] we feel that we can open the properties safely in a way that will not cause a spike.”
Allen reportedly told the broadcaster that re-opening tribal casinos in Washington will furthermore be required to regularly wipe down high-traffic surfaces, provide hand sanitizer and limit the number of patrons so as to ensure proper social distancing. He purportedly explained that such venues will also be operating only every other slot machine and discourage punters from travelling many miles to gamble.
Allen reportedly told KNKX…
“And most are going to be working closely with our public health safety officials to make sure that they’re being very cautious and basically asking people to leave the premises if they see symptoms like coughing.”