asino Pauma, which was among the first tribal-owned casinos in Southern California to voluntarily to close due to the threat of COVID-19, has announced that it will resume operations before dawn on Friday, June 12.
The northern San Diego County facility is one of the last to come back, three weeks after a spate of casino reopenings started around Memorial Day, PE reports.
When that happened, Pauma continued to hold off even though it was getting 100 phone calls an hour from customers, according to Jay Tindall, director of finance.
Those decisions came out of safety concerns by Temet A. Aguilar, chairman of the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, Tindall said in a phone interview.
For phase one of reopening, the 65,500-square-foot casino has been reconfigured for social distancing with 670 games available to players, down from 1,050.
"We didn’t just turn off every other game and call it a day," Tindall said.
Remaining games will include the casino’s 150 most popular, and there will be a new section, the Buffalo Zone, which he said would be like a Lightning Link Lounge.
Safety measures include a limit of three players at table games; plexiglass screens at the cashier’s station, the players club and other locations; hand sanitizer stations; and masks required for guests and staff.
The cafe has been reconfigured to use space in the buffet, which is still closed, although Tindall said the casino is looking for a safe way to reopen it.
The poker room also remains closed, and there is no valet parking, busing, or live entertainment.
The Pauma Store, set up during the pandemic to provide reordered groceries with drive-thru pickup, will continue. Tindall said Aguilar set it up "to protect the members of the tribe" and extended the service to the community.
Many guests live within a 25-mile radius of the casino, Tindall said, but it also has fans from outside the region.
Inland casinos that remain closed San Manuel Casino in Highland, which will reopen June 15, and Augustine Casino in Coachella.