Muckleshoot Casino playing 250-person limit

Gaming tribes in Washington take steps to protect tribal and non-tribal communities from the impact of COVID-19

Gaming tribes throughout Washington – including the Muckleshoots – are following the governor’s order to restrict public gatherings of no more than 250 people to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Tribe are actively taking steps to monitor, control and respond to the serious and evolving COVID-19 health crisis.

Muckleshoot Casino, one of the region’s largest employers, is among the tribe’s major business enterprises that has joined the effort.

To follow the state directives and to establish enhanced social distancing measures, concert events at the casino’s nightclub area will be kept to under 250 attendees.

Similar guidelines have been issued to gambling venues in other states, urging casinos to limit 250 people per room and clean chips and slot machines more frequently.

“Our focus continues to be proactive on how we can best protect the health of everyone under our roof, from our guests to our team members,” Conrad Granito, casino general manager, said in a statement. “In support of the new Washington state directives, we are adjusting our entertainment offerings to adhere to the capacity limit of 250 as well as social distancing guidelines.”

The casino, Granito said, is also elevating the in-depth sanitary and cleaning protocols already in place at the casino by implementing a rotating schedule of extra heavy-duty cleaning to all sections of the casino floor.

“We know that the decisions being made to limit the spread of COVID-19 impact everyone,” Granito said. “These decisions are not easy and we support the measures being recommended by local, state and federal officials.”

Tribal casinos in Washington are owned and managed by sovereign nations. Each have devoted resources to monitoring the situation and, like other jurisdictions, will continue to make decisions that carefully consider and protect the well being of their communities, said the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA), a nonprofit Indian gaming trade organization representing federally recognized tribes in the state.

Overall, tribal casinos in Washington are:

• Telling guests who do not feel well to avoid visiting casinos and asking those who appear unwell to leave and seek medical care.

• Following and, in many cases, exceeding guidance from national, state and county health authorities.

• Conducting extra and thorough cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (including video gaming machines, chair backs, door handles and elevator buttons) and materials (e.g., gaming chips and cards). Cleaning protocols are being elevated, with extra heavy-duty cleaning to all sections of the casino floor.

• Providing additional hand sanitizers and wipes throughout the gaming floor.

• Maintaining high sanitization standards at related retail, restaurant and hotel facilities.

• Making sure employees reduce the likelihood of infection and requiring them to stay home if they have flu-like symptoms and consult with a medical professional.

• Adjusting entertainment offerings to adhere to the Washington state directive to limit events to 250 and encourage social distancing.

• Limiting business travel of employees and following social distancing guidelines.

• Responding to evolving employee needs and concerns such as daycare and childcare.

As the casinos recognize that continuing to do business is vital, they will continue to evaluate and implement additional measures throughout this rapidly changing time, WIGA said.

“We are doing all we can to avoid shuttering these important business enterprises because of the devastating economic and personal impact closure would have on both tribal and non-tribal communities,” said W. Ron Allen, chairman/CEO at Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, based in Blyn. “But the health of our guests, employees and community are our top priority, so we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as it unfolds.”

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