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More Washington casinos resume operations with safety measures in place

In this April 30, 2020, photo, a sign reads "Stop COVID-19 Coronavirus together" at the new Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash. Hundreds of tribal casinos across the country voluntarily closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, in many cases taking away a tribe's primary source of revenue used to operate tribal government and social programs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

After being closed for two months, casinos across Washington state are starting to reopen their doors to guests. Tribal casinos are allowed to reopen on their own timelines, independent of Gov. Inslee’s ‘Safe Start’ plan, since local tribes are sovereign nations and therefore not subject to the governor’s orders.

“The casino operations, as you know, are not something in my jurisdiction,” Gov. Inslee said in a press conference last week when asked about the recent reopening of Angel of the Winds Casino. “The tribes have independent decision making about that, and that is not something that I control.”

Inslee said he has expressed to the tribes that he wished their openings would be more consistent with other business openings and operations in Washington state. That said, he hopes the openings are successful and safe.

“I have been hearing from them that they are going to be very diligent in their hygiene efforts,” Inslee said. “And I hope that they’re very, very successful because we want to keep people healthy.”

All of the casinos that are open now or reopening soon have implemented at least a few new health and safety protocols to protect employees and customers from COVID-19. Check the website of your favorite casino to know what’s required before you visit.

Emerald Queen Casino in Fife opened Monday, May 18, and is planning to open its brand-new EQC I-5 Tacoma location in June. EQC is currently limiting the number of people who can visit to no more than 30 percent of capacity. Similar to Angel of the Winds Casino, which opened on May 13, every visitor will have their temperature checked upon arrival.

The Puyallup Tribe owned casino has promised to increase cleaning practices and is expecting visitors to wear a mask. There will be hand sanitizing stations around the casino and lines marked on the ground to indicate proper social distancing.

Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash., also reopened May 18, and is now 100 percent smoke-free. The Squaxin Island Tribe is limiting casino occupancy to 50 percent and requiring ID checks, temperature checks, and masks to enter.

Visitors of Red Wind Casino can also expect new health and safety measures, and the casino facility will be smoke-free. Every other slot machine has been turned off and chairs have been removed to allow for distance between guests. Guests are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth.

Clearwater Casino Resort started its phased reopening May 18, and is temporarily smoke-free with limited capacity. The casino is asking everyone to “stay local and game local.” Entry will be limited to residents from Kitsap, Jefferson, Mason, and Clallam counties, and the area of Pierce County west of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Silver Reef Casino is reopening Friday, May 22, and ID checks, temperature checks, and masks will be required for entry.

All 12 Tribes Colville Casino properties are open now, checking temperatures upon entry, and encouraging the use of masks, though not required. Players are asked to practice social distancing as much as possible.

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Northern Quest Casino has been open since early May, with new safety protocols in place, and Spokane Tribe Casino welcomed visitors back on May 14.

Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Creek Casino have announced their reopening will be Tuesday, May 26, at noon.

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