One of the first tribal casinos that shut down operations in South California, Pechanga Resort Casino near Temecula , issued an update on its website informing its customers a target re-opening timeframe of June 1 has been set, with the actual date to restart gaming to be confirmed in the days ahead.
California in Phase 2, Tribal Casinos Outside of State Laws
The casino that is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians closed doors March 16, to help support state and federal efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection. Being a tribal property, the resort has a measure of sovereignty and the regulatory laws in the state do not apply for it. Hence, the Pechanga casino can re-open despite California being only in the second stage of the four-stage re-opening plan of St. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a stage that allows for some non-essential retail businesses to open for curbside service, but does not include restart of casinos.
Three days into the closure of its casino resort, Pechanga donated nearly $100,000 worth of food to three charities in Riverside County that regularly support disadvantaged and homeless people in the region, and followed it by another donation in April, 3,000 masks donated to three hospitals in Southwest Riverside County.
Pechanga restarted its facilities April 26 by opening the resort’s golf course, and continued with re-opening its RV resort May 5, albeit with limited number of spaces and certain measures in place to mitigate the risk of spreading the infection.
Health Risk Mitigation
The planned re-opening of the casino resort will see a number of new protective measures implemented, besides the ones before the closure such as more hand sanitizing stations and more frequent cleaning of high-touch areas. The amount of slot machines and the places at table games will be reduced, as well as resort’s restaurants full capacity will not be utilized, to allow for physical distancing between clients.
The casino has already purchased touchless and non-invasive temperature check technology and is installing it at the entrances to scan guests before they enter into the casino, while casino staff will undergo temperature checks before starting their workday. Employees will also receive mandatory safety training and will be required to wear protective masks while at work.
Pechanga does not plan to hold concerts and festivals within the property in the near future, in the meantime assessing which events can return to its schedule. The pool and spa within the resort will also remain closed until the next phase. The hotel is accepting reservations starting June 1.
The Pechanga Resort Casino is the only one setting a re-opening date tribal venue in the region. San Manuel Casino near Highland announced last week it extended the closure throughout May, while Fantasy Spring Resort Casino near Indio started rescheduling concerts that were planned for the spring, but is yet to announce a target re-opening date.