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Gila River Hotels & Casinos reopening with enhanced safety protocols

(Facebook Photo/Gila River Hotels & Casinos)

PHOENIX — Gila River Gaming Enterprises Inc. announced its facilities will reopen on Thursday with enhanced safety and sanitation protocols in place.

Gila River Hotels & Casinos decided to reopen Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva’s following input from its team members, the Gila River Indian Community Council, and incorporating guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arizona Department of Health Services, according to a press release.

“These enhanced health and safety measures go beyond CDC and AZDHS guidelines,” Gila River Gaming CEO Kenneth Manuel said in the release.

“The safety of our valued team members and guests are our priority … We will continue to adapt and enhance our safety measures to provide the highest level of care and service for our team members and guests.”

Upon reopening its facilities, new policies and strategies and implemented by Gila River Gaming include the following:

  • Non-smoking at all properties with designated smoking areas
  • Closing casinos from 2am-10am daily for deep-cleaning
  • Providing paid leave of absence for at risk team members
  • Testing employees for COVID-19 every two weeks
  • Mandatory temperature checks for team members and guests upon arrival
  • Mandatory face coverings for all team members and guests
  • Continual training for staff members
  • Advising guest to practice physical distancing
  • Redesigned casino floors and gaming tables to ensure physical distancing and reduced occupancy
  • Plexiglass separation fixtures on slot machines
  • 100 total Sanitation Stations on gaming floor and back-of-house
  • Installation of a cleaning alert system on all slots that allows visitors to alert a cleaning ambassador if machine requires cleaning
  • Hiring additional cleaning ambassador team members
  • Adapting of best practices and sanitation measures as needed

Thursday marks the second time Gila River Gaming has reopened locations amid the coronavirus pandemic; facilities partially reopened on May 15 before closing down once again on June 18.

Manual added that he and Gila River Gaming are continuing to mourn the death of Robert Washington Jr. — a former Lone Butte employee who contracted coronavirus and later died after returning to work when the casino initially reopened, according to an ABC15 report.

“We believe that the safety protocols that we are employing will create a safe environment for our guests and team members,” Manuel said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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