The Morongo Casino Resort & Spa and Casino Morongo is among three valley casinos that announced plans to reopen on Friday. Spotlight 29 and Toroise Rock Casinos also made the announcement later Tuesday. Officials at Morongo said several safety measures will be implemented, such as limiting guest capacity, temperature screenings, and requiring masks from guests and workers.
"We’ve evaluated the environment. We’ve been in consultation with local medical professionals-- constant contact with our tribal counsel about these decisions," Casino Morongo Executive Director of Marketing, Simon Farmer said. "Following the guidelines for local and state, and federal health officials to determine whether or not we are really ready to reopen. Time has come now when we know we can help maintain and manage that priority to welcome our guests back."
The Casino announced it will open its door Friday at 2 p.m. after being closed for more than 2 months.
Farmer said guests of ages 18 and over are welcome. He listed several safety precautions the casino will implement beginning Friday.
"When guests arrive to the property they’ll be in line to get a temperature check at the door. We’ll be scanning temperatures at the door-- it’ll be a touch-free device. If anybody is coming in with a temperature higher than 100.4° F we’re going to ask them to leave and come back another time," Farmer said.
The safety measures will also extend out to the casino floor. Farmer said staff will monitor inside and the parking lot to ensure a capacity of 50 percent or less is maintained.
"There’s going to be markers on the floor. Signage all around reminding guests to maintain social distance," Farmer said.
Guests and staff will be required to wear face masks.
Plexiglass partitions have also been installed between several slot machines, depending on their size.
"You’ll see some of the devices disabled. You’ll see seats removed from table games. You’ll see seats removed from our restaurants," Farmer said.
The casino announced it would also have hand-sanitizing stations and round-the-clock cleaning.
Mozen Asian Kitchen, Pink Coffee, Good Times Café, the Sideline Grill and the Food Court will all reopen with limitations for social distancing.
Oasis Pool, Sage Spa, Fitness Center, Cielo Steakhouse, Potrero Canyon Buffet, valet parking, and the poker and bingo rooms will remain closed.
The time frame to reopen came at around the same time one portion of the casino had originally planned to reopen, after undergoing extensive renovations to add new slot machines and a brighter aesthetic: https://kesq.com/news/2019/12/05/an-inside-look-at-the-renovation-and-expansion-of-morongo-casino-resort-and-spa/
"The reopening was going to take place right about now. It was going to take place in early May. We’ve been on track to reopen," Farmer said.
"I was impressed at the levels they’re going to. And that’s part of the reason that we need to get them back-- they’re an important part of our economy too," 5th District Riverside County Supervisor, Jeff Hewitt said.
Many leaders voiced their support Tuesday morning during a board of supervisors meeting. Although they backed the decision, they made it clear the county was not involved in various casino decisions to reopen.
On May 16 Cahuilla Casino Hotel announced it would be opening its doors back up on May 27: https://kesq.com/news/2020/05/16/cahuilla-casino-hotel-to-reopen-may-27/
Casinos throughout the valley have had to make changes as Coronavirus continues to create concerns for gatherings of multiple people. Just last week KESQ checked in with several casinos to see how they are coping, and the changes they've had to make. You can find more here: https://kesq.com/news/2020/05/13/coachella-valley-casinos-prepare-to-reopen-following-coronavirus-closures/