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

Thursday 24th December 2020

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- The Graton Casino in Rohnert Park is closing its doors to the public on New Years Eve, instead hosting a private party, according to their website.

Sonoma County Officials say they are aware of the event.

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"It would be our preference to not have a party with 4,000 people indoors," said Paul Gullixon, a spokesperson for Sonoma County during a press conference Wednesday.

Sonoma County Public Health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said she had been in touch with the casino, but has no jurisdiction over sovereign land.

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

Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, who has been skeptical about closing things like outdoor dining, was more forceful in his rebuttal, saying the science is clear about large indoor gatherings.

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"I don't think it's necessarily a great thing in that regard. It's a difficult time, but gatherings have proven to be something that causes spread to occur rapidly," said Rabbitt.

Though, if they are going to be open on New Years Eve, he says at least they are planning on capping the number of people rather than letting it get out of hand.

If the 4,000-person figure mentioned by Gullixon is 20% capacity, the casino could theoretically fit 20,000 inside if they wanted.

"By having it be invite-only I suppose they could control who comes in, rather than expecting having a much larger number over the course of the evening," said Rabbitt.

In a statement, the tribal chairman Greg Sarris told ABC7:

"The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria continue to work closely with the Sonoma County Public Health Officer. Graton Resort & Casino will remain open on a limited basis and continues to exceed all CDC safety requirements. In addition to those safety measures already in place, team members are tested for COVID-19 every two weeks and wear digital devices that ensure social distancing. Bars will continue to remain closed, and walk up alcohol service will end nightly at 9:00 pm."

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