Coeur d’Alene Casino Reopens in Idaho to Eager Players, Safeguards in Place

Posted on: May 2, 2020, 01:29h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2020, 12:42h.

Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel reopened its gaming on Friday with many health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The tribal casino is believed to be one of the first venues nationally to resume operations.

Coeur D'Alene Casino Reopens
Idaho Gov. Brad Little is urging state residents to wear face masks while in public and to thoroughly wash their hands. Some businesses in the state reopened on Friday. (Image: Idaho Statesman)

Upon entering the property, players and other visitors must get their temperatures taken, KTVB reported. They also get face masks if they did not bring one.

Only every other slot machine is operating to promote social distancing. The casino is shuttered each day between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. so crews can do a thorough cleaning.

On Friday, Coeur d’Alene told possible guests that “to maintain proper social distancing, we must limit our capacity throughout the property,” according to a Facebook post.

It appears there were many players at the casino on Friday. One Facebook post from Kris Bass Cederburg reported, “I had people standing behind me … waiting for my machine!”

Another post, from Caity Holland Clark, noted how the casino “has always been one of the cleanest facilities even before this pandemic. I bet if you spend time there now with their amped-up cleaning protocol, you may be healthier when you leave than when you came!”

Also, Vaida Wells-Clark posted on Facebook, “So glad you’re open and keeping us safe. Had so much fun and enjoyed our lunch.”

Similarly, Kathy Pfeifer posted, “We went … we saw … we had fun.”

No coronavirus cases were seen on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation or in Benewah County, KREM reported earlier this week. Kootenai County, where the casino is located, saw some 62 cases of coronavirus as of Friday.

The tribal casino was closed on March 20. That was five days before Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced a statewide stay-at-home order.

Before the closing, revenue from the casino provided funds for Coeur d’Alene tribal programs. But while the casino was shuttered, millions of dollars were lost, Coeur d’Alene Casino CEO Laura Stensgar said.

During the closing, casino employees were paid. They also got benefits.

Casino Has Staggered Approach to Reopening

On Monday, some restaurants at the gaming property reopened. There were fewer available seats than before, so social distancing could take place for guests and workers.

Statewide on Friday, Idaho stores and places of worship were able to reopen. Social distancing was in effect.

Between May 16 and 29, Idaho residents can reopen restaurants, hair salons, nail salons, and gyms. It will take longer to reopen bars, nightclubs, and movie theaters.

Gov. Little said people in Idaho should wear face masks while they are in public. They should also thoroughly wash their hands, he advised during a press conference on Thursday.

“Idahoans will still need to be vigilant, to stay healthy, as we continue to reopen our economy,” Little was quoted by Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Our staged approach is consistent with direction from President Trump, CDC [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and our public health experts.”

Angel of The Winds Casino Delays Opening

Several Washington state tribal gaming venues may try to reopen soon after shuttering for several weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. One of these, Angel of The Winds Casino Resort in Arlington, announced on Friday that it “made the difficult decision to extend the temporary closure and re-open with a phased approach,” according to a Facebook post.