Pechanga Resort Casino targets June 1 for reopening

Saturday 9th May 2020

More than two months after shutting its doors and powering down its slot machines in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, Pechanga Resort Casino near Temecula seeks to reopen June 1, according to a post on the casino's website Saturday, May 9.

The casino, which is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, was among Southern California's first tribal casinos to close, shuttering on March 16.

"With Gov. (Gavin) Newsom and local officials poised to relax some of the statewide and local stay-at-home orders and other measures in the days and weeks ahead, we are very happy to inform you that tribal leadership has set a target reopening timeframe of June 1. The actual date will be confirmed in the days ahead," the post read.

Pechanga reopened its RV resort on Tuesday, May 5, with a limited number of spaces and other measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The resort's golf course reopened on April 26.

However, when people can return to Pechanga, it will look different. The post detailing the targeted opening said that the amount of slot machines and positions at table games will be reduced. Additionally, the resort's restaurants will not be filled to capacity to allow for physical distancing between guests. The post did not mention anything specifically about the resort's buffet.

The statement from casino officials included that the measures put in place before the closure, such as more hand sanitizing stations and more frequent cleaning of high-touch areas would be in place.

Employees will undergo mandatory safety training and be required to wear masks, and "guests will also very likely be required to wear face coverings," the post said.

"Touchless and non-invasive temperature checks" have been purchased and will be installed at the casino's entrances to scan guests, according to the post. Employees' temperatures will be checked before starting their workday.

Concerts and other major events will not be held on the property in the immediate future, and the tribe will assess when those large events can return. The resort's pool and spa will also remain closed "until the next phase," the post reads.

However, the hotel is accepting reservations beginning June 1, according to a spot-check of Pechanga's website on Saturday.

Newsom's four-phase plan for reopening California is underway, with the state being in the second stage, with some nonessential retail businesses open for curbside service as well as manufacturing businesses and some offices. The final phase includes the return of concerts, festivals, conventions and ending the stay-at-home order.

However, most of Southern California's casinos are on tribal land, which gives them a measure of sovereignty and the state's regulatory laws generally do not apply to them.

The region's other tribal casinos remain shuttered. Last week, San Manuel Casino near Highland extended its closure through May 31. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino near Indio has begun to reschedule concerts that were planned for the spring and postponed due the coronavirus closure, but has not announced a target date for reopening.

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