San Manuel Casino reopens with safety protocols in place

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Photo MJ Duncan: Slot machines are operating at 50% to ensure physical distancing.
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San Manuel Casino reopened its doors to the public on Monday, June 15, 2020 with safety measures in place after a 3-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The casino was the first tribal casino in California to suspend operations, on March 15, to ensure the health and safety of tribal members, employees, guests and the community.

In partnership with Loma Linda University Health, a framework of standards was developed that includes frequent sanitation, health screenings and protocols in identifying those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, in the effort to help prevent and control potential outbreaks of the disease.

Photo MJ Duncan: Touch-free temperature scanners at the entrance – guests with 100.4°F and above will not be allowed to enter.

“Re-opening our doors safely and responsibly is our first priority,” said San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez. “We have taken our commitment to health and safety one step further by working with Loma Linda University Health’s San Manuel Gateway College on our health screening curriculum and organization-wide training.”

According to San Manuel Public Relations Manager Jenna Brady, the tribe had to make the difficult decision to lay off and furlough an estimated 1,100 casino and tribal government employees, but has thus far rehired 300 employees to fill newly created roles including Health Screeners, Health Screening Managers and Guest Safety Concierges.

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Upon entry guests will answer a verbal questionnaire regarding potential exposure to COVID-19, have their temperatures taken, wear a face covering while on the property, and maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet. Capacity is limited to 2,600 guests; an electronic counting system is situated at both entrances/exits to track guests coming and going from the casino.

Photo MJ Duncan: Floor demarcations throughout the casino where possible serve as guidance for physical distancing.

A little under 50 percent of slots remain in operation – 2,350 – with chairs removed at idle machines to allow for adequate physical distancing, as well as floor demarcations where possible. 68 table games with two positions will be available. Additional safety precautions include plexiglass placed between the dealer and players, cards will be switched out every 8 hours, and chip cleaning will take place throughout the day and nightly.

At this point it is unclear how long the safety protocols will remain in place; casino officials will take guidance from the CDC, medical experts and public health officials.

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