Indian Head Casino Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19, Prompting Closure

Posted on July 16, 2020

In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, circumstances can change rapidly. The recent reclosure of Indian Head Casino in Warm Springs is a reminder of that.

After an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, the facility’s operator suspended operations again. The casino remains closed indefinitely, pending further testing.

Details on the Indian Head Casino reclosure

Indian Head Casino was less than a month into its reopening.

The casino, owned by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, voluntarily shuttered on March 18 in response to the guidance from the CDC.

On June 11, the casino ended its nearly three-month shutdown. The casino didn’t go back to business as usual, however. The reopening included the casino’s”Playin’ It Safe” plan.  

Among the restrictions are:

  • No smoking anywhere on the property.
  • Plexiglas barriers and social distancing markers in high-traffic areas.
  • Hand sanitization stations on the gaming floor.
  • No indoor dining.
  • No table games.
  • Maximum occupancy of 250.
  • Mandatory wearing of face masks for employees and guests.
  • Required temperature screenings for employees and guests.
  • Limited entryways.
  • Curtailed hours of 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Indian Head was not conducting COVID-19 testing on its employees. The positive test was confirmed through contact tracing and the casino was notified.

To protect the rest of its workforce and guests, the tribes made the decision to close again on July 8. Much like in March, there’s no finite end to this closure.

Other casinos in Oregon remain open with precautions in place.

When will Indian Head Casino reopen?

The casino is sanitizing the property. If and when Indian Head reopens relies upon the results of further testing of the casino’s 200 employees.

On Sunday, a spokesperson for the casino said there had been no further positive tests. It’s unclear whether every person who may have come into contact with the person who tested positive has been, or will be, tested.

Furthermore, there’s no timeline for how long the casino will wait after test results come back to resume operations. That depends on what level of staffing the tribes feel is necessary.

When the casino reopens, guests should expect more of the same health and safety restrictions they saw over the prior three weeks. In fact, the fragile nature of the situation may lead to more precautions.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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