Northern Quest Casino, other Kalispel Tribe businesses to reopen May 5 with strict precautions

Thursday 30th April 2020

Northern Quest Resort & Casino will reopen May 5 with strict social distancing and disease prevention protocols in place, according to the Kalispel Tribe of Indians.

The Kalispel Tribe also plans to reopen the majority of its other businesses that day, including the Kalispel Casino, the Kalispel Golf and Country Club and Fatburger 5-mile, after closing them on March 16 for what was planned to be two weeks.

"Tribal Council extended the closure for more than seven weeks to support state, national and international public health efforts," the Kalispel Tribe said in a news release. "These efforts have proven successful. We are grateful that in Spokane and Pend Oreille counties confirmed cases are continuing to decrease and, more importantly, the Intensive Care Units within our local healthcare system have not been overwhelmed."

The Kalispel Tribe said it will prohibit employees and patrons experiencing signs of an illness from entering its businesses and encourage people at high risk for COVID-19 to stay home.

Some of Northern Quest Casino's other new protocols will include nightly closures from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. for deep cleaning and not operating every other slot machine and table game for social distancing. Table games will be limited to two guests unless there are more than two players from the same household.

The casino also added technology to machines to alert staff when a guest leaves so the station can be cleaned between players.

Poker, horse-race betting, Keno and valet will not be available when the casino first opens.

The number of food and beverage vendors opening May 5 has not been finalized, and those that do will have new seating configurations for social distancing.

The casino will require employees who deal directly with patrons to wear masks and encourage patrons to bring their own masks or access a limited supply at the facility.

At the hotel, check-in policies have been adjusted for social distancing and elevators will be limited to a maximum of two people or one family. Guests will be placed in rooms spaced throughout the building. And rooms will be left vacant for 24 hours after checkout for deep cleaning.

Employees will only return to work voluntarily, according to the tribe. Businesses will accommodate employees who are at high risk or have a high-risk family member.

The Kalispel Tribe said essential government functions funded by Northern Quest and other businesses are in jeopardy if the entertainment and hospitality services it considers essential aren't reopened soon. Those functions include police, fire, courts, education and health care.

The tribe said it continued to pay employees of closed businesses for three weeks but that soon became unfeasible. More than 1,800 employees were laid off and furloughed.

"To date, federal and state relief funding has only met a fraction of the Tribe's and the team members' needs," the tribe said in a news release.

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