Pechanga Casino Scheduled to Reopen on June 1, Plan Focus On ‘Health and Safety’

Posted on: May 12, 2020, 08:29h. 

Last updated on: May 13, 2020, 07:32h.

UPDATE (5/13) – A Pechanga spokeswoman tells that the casino resort has extended insurance benefits to all furloughed employees through the end of May. The article has been updated below.

California’s largest casino announced over the weekend that it plans to reopen June 1.

Pechanga reopen
A worker at Journey at Pechanga, the golf course to the Pechanga Resort Casino, sanitizes a golf cart. The course at the Temecula, Calif.-based casino opened last month, and tribal leaders announced last week the casino is scheduled to open on June 1. Similar sanitizing guidelines will also be in place at the casino. (Image: Pechanga Resort Casino)

The Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, located about 50 miles north of San Diego, posted the news on Twitter Saturday. Operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, the tribal casino features more than 5,000 slot machines and 150 table games.

Our promise has been & will always be to exceed expectations,” read a post on the resort’s account. “Our reopening will be centered around the health & safety of our Team Members, guests, community & the Tribe.”

To that extent, casino officials said that when the doors reopen, operations will be reduced at the onset. Also certain amenities, such as the resort’s pool, will not reopen immediately when the casino welcomes back guests.

In addition to the casino’s planned June 1 reopening, Pechanga is also taking hotel reservations starting that same day. However, it’s uncertain how many rooms may be available.

The casino announcement comes just days after the resort announced it would reopen its recreational vehicle parking area. Limited spaces have been available at the lot since last Tuesday. Guests using the lot must agree to wear masks whenever they set foot outside their vehicles and abide by social distancing requirements.

Last month, Pechanga reopened the resort’s golf course after the Riverside County public health officer and director of emergency services signed off on an order allowing some outdoor activities. The course’s clubhouse remains closed, and golf carts are sanitized after each round. Golfers also must agree to wear face masks.

Employee Insurance Covered Through April

Pechanga tribal officials made the decision to close the casino effective on March 16, citing concerns about protecting staff members and guests from the coronavirus. At the time, the plan was to stay closed through the end of March.

However, just days later, tribal officials realized the closure would last indefinitely. That prompted them to furlough workers effective April 1, although the tribe agreed to pay 100 percent of the health insurance costs for workers and their dependents through the end of May.

“We have all had to adapt to this growing COVID-19 pandemic very quickly and have been working around-the-clock to manage challenges created by these extraordinary circumstances,” Pechanga Development Corp. President Jared Munoa said in a March release. “We are thankful that we can pay 100% of health insurance costs for our team so that they have the exact same coverage, including dependents if applicable, they had before the temporary COVID-19 closure. We look forward to bringing the team back together again as soon as this crisis is over and it is safe.”

Economic Engine for Inland Empire

Tribal officials did not reveal the exact number of workers furloughed. However, according to Riverside County officials, the casino employs about 4,700 workers.

The casino is a major economic driver, not just for the tribe, but for Southern California’s Inland Empire region as well. In 2018, 3.1 million visitors to the Temecula area spent $1.1 billion. Much of that was credited to the resort, which opened a $300 million expansion nearly two years ago that doubled the number of rooms to nearly 1,100.