3 Inland Empire casinos set to reopen with restrictions after being temporarily shuttered amid COVID pandemic

Three tribal casinos in Southern California have announced plans to reopen after temporarily shutting down because of the coronavirus.
COACHELLA, Calif. (KABC) -- Three tribal casinos in Southern California have announced plans to reopen Friday after temporarily shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa near Cabazon is set to open its hotel, casino and some of its restaurants with added safety measures in place, including temperature screenings and limited guest capacity, according to a Tuesday statement from the Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians.

The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians of California will also reopen the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella and Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms, also with protective measures, including air-purification equipment and mandatory face coverings.

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"We chose to close the Spotlight 29 and the Tortoise Rock casinos as a proactive measure to protect our guests and employees from exposure to the virus,'' tribal chairman Darrell Mike said in a statement. "We have utilized this downtime to thoroughly clean every aspect of our operations and feel comfortable slowly reopening some aspects of the gaming areas, restaurants, and bars."

Additional safety measures at Spotlight 29 and Tortoise Rock casinos include mandatory coronavirus testing for employees before they are allowed to return to work; mandatory temperature checks at the door for all guests, employees and vendors; and mandatory face coverings, officials said.

Tribal officials said 50% of the slot chairs have been removed in order to encourage physical distancing among players.

In an Instagram post, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians refuted reports that the San Manuel Casino in Highland was schedule to reopen June 1.

"To confirm, while we have not yet announced a re-opening date, we know it will not before the end of the month nor on June 1 as reported," the statement said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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