Fresno County casino making ends meet during COVID-19 outbreak by selling gas, food

Saturday 16th May 2020

AUBERRY, Calif. (KFSN) -- While the doors to the gaming floor remain closed because of the restrictions brought on by COVID-19, the Mono Wind Casino in the Fresno County community of Auberry is keeping the money rolling in with its bar and grill and gas station.

"We're getting a lot of the locals that are filling up and realizing we've opened the patio and if it's a beautiful day as it normally is up here then we'll get some people to sit down," says general manager Kerry Smith.

While the low gas prices keep motorists coming back, the tribal council recently decided to reopen the Broken Arrow for to-go orders and patio dining.

Management admits they haven't profited much by selling breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the hot meals are helping many families who live in the area and don't want to cook.

"You got the revenue from the general store, the gas sales, and cigarette sales and that's pretty much it. And the to-go stuff but we're not making much of a profit on that, we're just breaking even. We're basically doing that for the community itself," says Smith.

Since Mono Wind is on sovereign land, talks are underway on when to reopen the casino. Staff is busy rearranging the gaming floor to meet social distancing practices in the event players are allowed back in.

"Our casino is ready to go as opposed to some of the others. We're moving stools and we're going to have 50% capacity when we do select the date that we're ready to go. But we've just been in there cleaning, carpets, wiping everything down, painting, doing some upgrades to the kitchen.," says Smith.

Management says all 80 full-time staffers have remained on the payroll during the outbreak.

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