Arizona’s three tribal casinos made an announcement that they were voluntarily shutting down their operations in order to protect their workers and visitors from the COVID-19 pandemic. The area reported another spike in cases, and the main reason why the casinos made such a decision was a coronavirus-related death of one of the workers.
A 68-year-old security guard who worked for one of the casinos contracted the virus and passed away on June 11. That was a sort of a wake-up call for the casinos to cease their operations for the time being.
The three properties are Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva. They closed at 2 am Thursday morning and will remain closed for three weeks. All three of them are operated by Gila River Gaming.
A local news outlet reported that the casinos will continue to pay their employees during the closure. Moreover, the properties will work on safety standards in the meantime so that they can impose social distancing when they get back to business.
The Governor of Gila River Indian Community, Stephen Roe Lewis, stated in a press release that they were “processing new information and new guidelines about the pandemic” in order to create a guide — pretty much like other businesses in Arizona right now.
Arizona Casinos Reopened Mid-May
Gambling properties in Arizona were reopened mid-May, and the three properties that are operated by Gila River Gaming opened their doors at 50% capacity in order to ensure maximum safety. Before that, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued a stay-at-home order that Arizona residents had to stick to.
The initial safety guidelines for Arizona casinos were similar to those created by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. All staff inside the casino were required to wear face masks, face protection, and other safety equipment. On the other hand, visitors were encouraged to wear masks while inside casinos, but it wasn’t mandatory.
However, that changed recently, after videos from Las Vegas casinos leaked, showing that patrons aren’t wearing any protective equipment whatsoever, while being in a crowded place. That’s why the NGCB decided to update its social distancing guidelines, requiring all visitors who play table games to wear face masks if there’s no protective glass in front of them.
The coronavirus pandemic is far from being over, and vaccines are still being researched. Until then, casino visitors will have to pay attention to social distancing rules in order to minimize the spread of the disease.
One of the possible alternatives is to play casino games from the comfort of their home — by opening an account at one of the available online casinos. That way, they don’t risk either spreading or contracting the disease.
Yet many casino goers don’t really agree that online casinos are quite the same thing, as the social factor isn’t present in this type of casino gaming. In the end, it’s up to you to choose whether you’ll visit land-based casinos with protective equipment or settle for the next best thing — online casinos on your PC or mobile device.
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