ast week, Jackson Rancheria Casino became the fourth Sacramento-area Indian casino to unveil reopening plans, which include a plethora of safety restrictions designed to quell the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Casinos at Lake Tahoe and Reno said they’re ready to open as well, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Similar to other casinos, Jackson will require employees and guests to wear masks and to have their temperatures taken before entering. Hand-sanitizing stations will be installed, seating will be limited at table games and the casino floor has been rearranged to encourage social distancing.
And, similar to at least one other casino, Jackson appears to have negotiated the reopening date with Gov. Gavin Newsom. Thunder Valley near Lincoln is opening the same day after consulting with Newsom. Red Hawk Casino near Shingle Springs had set a June 1 reopen date but pushed it back to June 8 “based on the latest and updated public health information,” the casino’s management announced.
Because of the coronavirus, Newsom so far has refused to allow the reopening of large venues like sports stadiums and movie theaters. But because of tribes’ sovereign-nation status, the governor doesn’t have the authority to dictate when the casinos can reopen.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, near Wheatland, became the first tribal casino in Northern California to reopen May 21. Three Southern California tribal casinos reopened on Friday: Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa near Cabazon, the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, and Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms.
Safety measures put in place in those facilities included mandatory face coverings, temperature screenings, and limited guest capacity, among others.
In Nevada, meanwhile, Gov. Steve Sisolak has set a tentative June 4 reopening date for his state’s casino industry to reopen with ramped-up safety measures. On Thursday, three large casinos in Stateline, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, said they’ll plan to reopen that day: Harrah’s, Harveys and Hard Rock. The fourth big casino in Stateline, the Montbleu, hasn’t made any announcements.
Several big Reno casinos said they’ll open their doors June 4, including the Silver Legacy, Peppermill, Atlantis, Circus Circus and Eldorado.
Although the northern Nevada casinos are popular among Northern Californians, it remains to be seen how customers will get there. Newsom’s ban on non-essential travel remains in effect even as the governor has reopened much of California’s economy.
El Dorado County late Wednesday rescinded its ban on non-essential travel, which was designed to keep out-of-towners from spreading the virus in the Tahoe basin. But as long as the state’s ban remains, such travel is technically off-limits.
However, tourism officials said they assume Californians will be able to cross the state line. “I don’t think anybody has the appetite to bust people,” said Carol Chaplin, chief executive of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
A few resorts on the California side of Tahoe are preparing to reopen, such as the Forest Suites Resort at Heavenly Village, in South Lake Tahoe.
"We’re getting a lot of phone calls, a lot of people are anticipating coming up here," said the resort’s general manager Jerry Bindel, who is chairman of the visitors authority. He said the hotel plans to reopen June 1 in "a controlled setting" with a maximum emphasis on public health.