Graton Casino cancels 4,000-person New Year's Eve party

Friday 25th December 2020

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park had plans for a massive New Year's Eve party with up to 4,000 guests. It raised red flags for Sonoma County health officials.

Well, the event has now been canceled.

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The big announcement came on Thursday in a Facebook post.

"Graton Resort Casino will close at 5:00 p.m. on 12/31 for all activities. All parties and gatherings on New Year's Eve have been canceled. The casino will re-open on 1/1/21 at 6:00 a.m."

Large indoor gatherings are not allowed in Sonoma County due to the pandemic. But casino owner, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria is a sovereign nation, and therefore is not subject to local or state public health orders.

Greg Sarris, who wrote the Facebook post, is the tribal chairman.

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In an email to ABC7 News, Sarris would not comment on why the event was canceled, only saying that the casino continues to work closely with the county. He went on to write that, "Graton Resort & Casino will remain open on a limited basis and continues to exceed all CDC safety requirements."

Sonoma County officials may not have been in support of the big bash, but did praise Graton for extra precautions it had in place.

"It would be our preference to not have a party with 4,000 people indoors, none the less we do recognize that they are taking as many precautions and probably more precautions than any other casino in the state," said Paul Gullixson, Sonoma County spokesman.

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Sonoma County Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, had been working with the casino on protocols.

"They are trying to do things with as much mitigation as they can, in terms of limiting indoor capacity to 20 percent of what's normal, in terms of enforcing facial coverings or masks and social distancing," explained Mase.

All references to the New Year's Eve event have also been removed from the casino's website.

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