Thunder Valley Casino defends its 6,000-person indoor New Year's Eve party

Thursday 31st December 2020

Katie Dowd SFGate, San Francisco

Despite the high-profile headlines generated by a now-canceled New Year's Eve party at Graton Resort and Casino, two other Northern California casinos are going forward with their plans.

The Sacramento Bee reports Cache Creek Casino Resort and Thunder Valley Casino are still planning on throwing indoor New Year's Eve fetes. The one at Thunder Valley is anticipated to see 6,000 guests. Both casinos will close to the general public and the parties will be invite-only.

"Cache Creek Casino Resort will become a private venue starting at 12:00 p.m. on December 31, 2020," the casino says on its website. "We will reopen to the public at 6:00 a.m. on January 1, 2021."

Similarly, Thunder Valley is closing to the public at 1 p.m. Thursday and reopening on Jan. 1 at 6 a.m.

Casinos located on tribal lands are not obligated to follow state or county COVID rules. As such, Gov. Gavin Newsom's orders banning indoor entertainment doesn't apply to the state's dozens of tribal casinos. Most shut down during the early months of the pandemic before reopening at reduced capacity with temperature checks, clear barriers between guests and mask mandates (although drinking, eating and smoking are all allowed indoors).

Thunder Valley is located in Lincoln; Placer County currently has a 12.4% test positivity rate. Cache Creek is in Brooks; Yolo County is seeing a 12.24% positivity rate over the last seven days.

Cache Creek told the Bee that its public party planned in early December has been canceled. Both venues emphasized the private parties represent a fraction of the guests they normally see on New Year's Eve, although those numbers reflect attendance in a year without a global health crisis.

"Out of an abundance of caution, Thunder Valley is closing to the general public on New Year's Eve and limiting the number of guests that will have access to the casino to 6,000, which is less than 20% of attendance on a typical NYE at Thunder Valley," Thunder Valley spokesman Doug Elmets told the Bee. A spokesman for Cache Creek told the publication its private party will represent "less than 1% of our pre-COVID occupancy."

Graton casino, which was planning on a 4,000-person indoor party reportedly for high-rollers, announced last week it would not be holding the event after all.

Editor's Note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you'd like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit napavalleyregister.com/members/join/.

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PHOTOS: CHECK OUT THIS $17,000 CHESS SET (AND THE WINE) YOU'LL FIND AT MAYACAMAS DOWNTOWN IN NAPA

Close 1 of 5

Check out this mother-of-pearl chess set for sale at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room. It cost a cool $17,000.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

Zoe Hankins is the downtown manager at Mayacamas Vineyards/ Mayacamas Downtown.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

This bar set at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room is priced at $4,700. The handles are made of warthog tusk.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

Oversized coffee table books and other items for sale at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

A selection of wine and other items at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room. It's located at 1256 First St. in Napa.

Jennifer Huffman, Register Photos: Check out this $17,000 chess set (and the wine) you'll find at Mayacamas Downtown in Napa

Wine and gifts (including a $17,000 chess set) can be found at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room. It's located at 1256 First St. in Napa, under the Archer Napa hotel.

1 of 5

Check out this mother-of-pearl chess set for sale at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room. It cost a cool $17,000.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

Zoe Hankins is the downtown manager at Mayacamas Vineyards/ Mayacamas Downtown.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

This bar set at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room is priced at $4,700. The handles are made of warthog tusk.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

Oversized coffee table books and other items for sale at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

A selection of wine and other items at the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room. It's located at 1256 First St. in Napa.

Jennifer Huffman, Register

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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