By Crystal Harrell

As more businesses start to open their doors and the state of California slowly removes restrictions to set the economy back in motion, the announcement has been made that several casinos will be open to the public, including Agua Caliente, Morongo, Spotlight 29, Tortoise Rock, and Pechanga Resort.

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians will reopen its casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage at noon on Friday, May 22, with ‘Play it Safe’ measures in place at both properties. ‘Play it Safe’ measures include intense cleaning efforts using an antimicrobial product throughout the tribal properties as well as temperature checks upon entry, face-covering requirements, and social distancing requirements for guests and team members to follow.

After the casino reopens, Agua Caliente will not allow smoking inside its properties. There will be a 50 percent occupancy limit and the number of seats at table games and on the casino floor will be reduced. In addition, in Rancho Mirage, the Sunstone Spa, The Show, Pivat Cigar Lounge, The District, and the resort pool will remain closed as will the buffets at both properties.

“Upon reopening, our Tribe’s top priority will be to create and maintain the safest environment possible for everyone who interacts with our facilities, including guests, team members, and vendors. We have spent the past two months reevaluating the way we do business in this new environment. We have changed our perspective and have improved upon our business practices. Our guests demand and deserve the kind of care and attention that goes into providing the highest quality experience,” said Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe.

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The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians also announced that it will reopen the Spotlight 29 and Tortoise Rock casinos, located in Coachella and Twenty-Nine Palms respectively, on Friday, May 22, at 10 a.m. Employees of the casinos will receive COVID-19 testing before returning to work and will receive periodic testing going forward for the foreseeable future. All guests, employees and vendors entering the casino will have their temperature checked as well, and all guests and employees must wear protective masks and follow all rules for safety and compliance. Free masks will be provided at the door if guests do not have one. 

State-of-the-art UV/Ionization air purification equipment has been purchased for both casinos, featuring technology that is widely used in healthcare facilities and has had documented success with validated test results showing 99+% reductions on similar viruses.

“Local, state, and national business are slowly starting to reopen after being temporarily closed to curtail the spread of the virus. We have utilized this downtime to thoroughly clean every aspect of our operations and feel comfortable slowly reopening some aspects of the gaming areas, restaurants, and bars. We take the threat of this virus very seriously and will carefully monitor all aspects of all of our operations to ensure they surpass the protocol guidelines we have put in place,” said Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike.

Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula has plans to open June 1 announced by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, and was among the first casinos to make an announcement of reopening. With restrictions loosening by state and local officials, the Tribe decided it was practical to begin planning for a target reopening date

Augustine Casino in Coachella has no set opening date, but has a plan for when reopening does commence. Guests will find a number of changes within the casino upon their return, both structural and related to policies and health and sanitization guidelines. The Tribe will also continue to monitor CDC, WHO and other health recommendations.

Augustine Casino is implementing a number of enhanced health and safety guidelines including a significant increase in the frequency of cleaning and sanitization, mandatory masks that cover the nose and mouth for both team members and guests, a temporary smoking ban inside the casino, enforced social distancing, frequent hand washing, and an increase in hand sanitizing dispensers.

“We provide over 400 jobs to local Coachella Valley residents. The generosity and philanthropy of the tribe positively affects scores of local nonprofit organizations. We miss our guests and team members dearly.  Please make sure you check social media and our website frequently for reopening updates. Once we reopen, and when you feel ready, we are here to welcome you with open arms,” stated Director of Marketing Lindsay Grant.