Tribe-owned FireKeepers Casino Hotel will not close like other Michigan gaming facilities, following a State order issued Sunday ordering the closing of entertainment venues.
CEO Confident FireKeepers Casinos Did Not Influence Covid-19 Spread
FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek will remain open despite an order issued on November 15 by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services ordering gaming facilities to close for three weeks starting November 18.
Operated and owned by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, FireKeepers will continue operations under Covid-19 restrictions. The venue is one of 23 tribal casinos governed by the National Indian Gaming Commission and is not subjected to the order published Sunday.
In a written statement from November 16, FireKeepers CEO Kathy George said the casino was used as critical infrastructure for the Tribe, and would therefore remain open.
“We are confident that the recent significant increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases is not being influenced by FireKeepers’ operators because of the mitigation steps we have taken and which we continue to rigorously enforce,”Kathy George, Chief Operating Executive at FireKeepers
Since reopening on June 1, FireKeepers has been focused on “the protection of [its] guests and [its] 1,800 team members,” Ms. George added, “We reopened under strict protocols designed to ensure that FireKeepers’ business operations are not contributing to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
Strict Safety Protocols To Be Under Constant Review
The casino will carry on with rigorous vigilance and under firm guidelines, which it will continue to review with health authorities and the Tribe’s gaming regulators in order to add or update measures against further Covid-19 contamination.
Operating at a maximum of 20% building capacity, the casino has been enforcing safety protocols against the spread of the virus, such as mandatory face covering and social distancing.
About 43% of slot machines are available to customers as of November 17. FireKeepers said it will decrease access depending on the number of guests.
Smoking has been banned from the property and gatherings are not allowed on the gaming floor. Temporal scans are required for patrons upon entry, while valet parking, buffet dining, hand-dealt table games, and bingo were temporarily removed.
FireKeepers recently announced it will close on New Year’s Eve.
Gun Lake Casino Stays Open
Gun Lake Casino, operated by the Gun Lake Tribe, also announced it will stay open to the public.
Slot machines will be available behind Plexiglass barriers or with enough spacing for social distancing. Dining and drinking amenities, as well as betting counters, will remain closed. The casino also said that it will close all table games outside the High Limit Room.