Northern Quest Casino Reopens in Washington State, Reactions Mixed

Posted on: May 6, 2020, 10:29h. 

Last updated on: May 6, 2020, 01:05h.

Washington State’s Northern Quest Resort & Casino is the latest tribal venue to reopen its gaming floor to players. Increased safety precautions were in place on Tuesday at the property, though at least person said on social media the safeguards were insufficient.

Northern Quest Casino Reopens
Northern Quest Resort & Casino reopened on Tuesday in Washington State. (Image: Northern Quest Resort & Casino)

“Thank you Spokane for a fabulous first day back!” Northern Quest posted on its Facebook page. “Welcome back everyone! We love having you!”

One player who apparently went to the casino this week, Sarah Bremer, said on Facebook that she had, “So much fun!! Thank you so much!! And I won!”

But Theresa Lynn Burns posted, “I heard it was chaos and that a regular who was there all day was saying he had the coronavirus and was not using a mask …. Northern Quest, I feel you are being irresponsible in the way you opened …”

To which Teri Peterson responded on Facebook, “It’s too bad people are ignorant and don’t understand we have … freedom here in the United States. If you do not want to go out in public and be a part of anything, don’t go! If you’re at high risk … stay home “

The casino was shuttered over a month ago. It put safety precautions in place before reopening.

Northern Quest can reopen despite a statewide stay-at-home order because the gaming property is located on the Kalispel Tribe of Indians sovereign land. The casino is not regulated under relevant state law

We want to assure you that the health and safety of our guests and Team Members is our number one priority,” Northern Quest said in a Facebook post. “We believe that with enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures in place, increased social distancing measures throughout the property, a thoughtful approach to a phased reopening in some areas, and everyone’s collective commitment to staying home when they’re experiencing symptoms of illness, we can safely get back to the business of having fun….”

Casino General Manager Nick Pierre added that the reopening did not take place until relevant health data was reviewed, television station KREM reported. It continues to be monitored, and the tribe needs the casino revenue to fund its key operations.

Northern Quest says it is complying with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. That includes social distancing, cleaning, and sanitization.

Many Casino Workers Wear Masks, Gloves

“All Team Members who work in direct guest-service areas will be wearing masks as part of their uniforms to protect themselves, their fellow Team Members and our guests,” the Facebook post adds. “Guests are strongly encouraged to bring their own masks and to wear them as much as possible while on our property.”

Masks for guests will be provided or available for purchase. There is a limited supply.

“You’ll also see plexiglass barriers in some areas, floor markers identifying six-foot distancing, Team Members using gloves where appropriate, and hand sanitizing stations in high traffic areas,” the casino added.

At the start of this week, the casino opened at 10 a.m. It closed at 2 a.m. to allow for increased cleaning.

Washington State Gambling Commission Agents to Wear PPE

“Now that Governor [Jay] Inslee has initiated his phased plan for reopening, some tribal casinos are opening or are preparing to open,” Heather Songer, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Gambling Commission, told Wednesday. “As the casinos reopen, we will continue our co-regulatory work with the tribal gaming agencies. We are providing our agents with personal protective equipment to keep them safe and healthy when they are out in the field.”

Elsewhere in Washington State, other tribes are eager to reopen casinos. Angel of The Winds Casino Resort in Arlington delayed its reopening.

The venue 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.

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

For Mother’s Day, which falls on Sunday, the Idaho casino is planning to offer at the Chinook Steak, Pasta & Spirits restaurant a “Prime Rib Dinner Special that is guaranteed to leave your mom speechless,” according to a casino Facebook post.