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Central Valley casinos begin to open up with COVID-19 regulations

News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) –  Tachi Palace Casino Resort reopened its doors today, but with changes due to the pandemic.

Michael Olujic, the general manager of Tachi Palace Casino Resort said, “The pandemic has really forced us to be creative.  So it’s an evolving thing that has to happen all the time and we really go to be on our toes.”

Olujic says they had to redefine their operating model by taking down some walls, creating more space and carefully placing roughly 1,700 machines throughout, so that customers are spaced out.

“It’s unique, it’s different, but it’s safe and it’s what we need to do in these changing times.”

COVID-19 modifications also include taking the customer’s temperature, mask wearing and providing hand sanitizer.  The casino voluntarily closed its doors on March 20th.  Since Tachi Palace is on tribal lands they weren’t forced to abide by the state’s emergency order guidelines.

“And at this point and time we opened because we had all the infrastructure in place to ensure safety.  You know, we wanted to be safe for the community, for our employees and for our guests.”

Other casinos are also gearing up to open.  Chukchansi Gold Resort plans to open Monday, June 1st with similar regulations and Eagle Mountain Casino has a later date — looking to open Monday, June 15th.  

General manager of Eagle Mountain Casino, Matthew Mingrone said, “Being that we’re in the middle of the reservation, we have a bigger cause, a bigger reason to be concerned.”

There are approximately 1,800 tribal members including more than 200 that are elderly.

“They’re of the highest risk in any community so that’s why the tribe made that serious determination to close their borders.”

Additionally, table games at these casinos, such as poker, will only seat three people per table and there are plans of installing plexiglass as well.  

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