Seven Clans Casino, Warroad reopened on May 28 with restricted hours and safety requirements including masks must be worn at all times. (Courtesy Red Lake Nation)
Minnesota’s 19 Tribal casinos are owned and operated by its 11 federally recognized Tribes, and those that have already opened have instituted strict health and safety measures for reopening. Some have plans in place, some are working on plans right now. Here’s what’s going on by Tribe.
Upper Sioux Community
Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort reopened May 18 with temperature checks upon entering, mandatory masks, the encouragement of social distancing, and hand sanitizing stations throughout the property. The pool, sauna, and exercise room at the hotel will remain closed for now.
“While not all slot machines will be available, many guest favorites will be waiting for you. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have had to reduce to about 50 percent of capacity,” states a press release. “Guests will notice plexiglass dividers between slot machines as well as limited chairs. Once again, these changes have been made for the health and safety of all.”
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Mystic Lake Casino and Little Six Casino reopened on May 26 with strict sanitizing protocols, reduced smoking areas and occupancy, as well as temperature checks at entrances, and mask and social distance requirements. Dine-in restaurants and self-serve beverage stations will remain closed.
“Everyone’s health and well-being remains our highest priority, and that means things will look a little different as we reopen. We are constantly monitoring the situation and have modified our properties to ensure that we are operating in a way that keeps you and our team members safe,” reads the casino website. “We will take a phased approach to reopening based on the guidance we continue to receive from public health officials, and add additional amenities over time. Our doors may have been closed, but behind the scenes we’ve been diligently cleaning and sanitizing all areas of our properties and creating enhanced health and safety plans with expert help from public health officials.”
Red Lake Nation
Seven Clans Casino, Warroad and Seven Clans Casino, Thief River Falls reopened on May 28 with restricted hours of 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. The hours between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. will be used for extensive cleaning. Both Tribal casinos require masks be worn at all times and have installed social distancing markers and safety shields where needed.
“Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our guests, our team, and our community. At this time, there have been NO reported cases of COVID-19 at any of our properties,” states the update from the website. “We will take a phased approach to reopening based on the guidance we continue to receive from our tribal council, public health officials, and will add back the outlets over time. Our management is continuously monitoring the situation and will continue to modify our properties to ensure that we are operating in a way that keeps you, our guests, our team members and tribal members safe.”
One of those safety measures has been making both Tribal casinos 100 percent smoke free. Seven Clans Casino, Red Lake remains closed as well as poker, bingo, the restaurant, waterpark, arcade, and banquet events.
Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
Fortune Bay Resort Casino reopened June 1 with restricted hours, increased cleaning and safety protocols, temperature checks upon entering, all guests and team members are required to wear masks, social distancing is encouraged, and there is no smoking until further notice.
“While we were closed, each department deep cleaned every area of the property and paid close attention to frequently used areas. During operating hours, consistent sanitizing schedules have been put in place to keep our property clean, all hours of the day. This includes, but is not limited to slot machines, table games, restrooms, all areas in hotel rooms, doorknobs, faucets, countertops, tables, chairs, and many other frequently used areas,” states the casino’s website.
Only two guests will currently be allowed at each table game, and not yet ope are valet, shuttle service, coat check, fountain drink stations, fitness center, mobile sauna, Sunset Steakhouse, Tamarack Buffet, poker room, arcade, and slots in the North Star Bar.
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Hinckley reopened on June 1 with temperature checks at designated entrances, mask requirements, social distancing markers, hand sanitizer stations, and designated smoking areas off the gaming floor.
“COVID-19 has been a complete game changer for every business — but perhaps nowhere is that more the case than in the hospitality industry. When we made the decision to temporarily close Grand Casino, we knew we were making an unprecedented decision with significant financial implications. Yet we did so confidently, knowing that it was the right decision to protect the Mille Lacs Band community, as well as the safety and wellbeing of our associates and guests,” said Joseph S. Nayquonabe, CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures in a statement. “As jarring as this time has been for our businesses, it also has been a great opportunity for us to formalize a plan to make our guests and associates feel safe at our properties in the face of this pandemic. After thoroughly analyzing operations for the development of this plan, Grand Casino has decided that both locations will reopen their gaming floors as smoke-free environments.
Prairie Island Indian Community
Treasure Island Resort & Casino reopened in its Phase One June 1 with designated entrances with temperature checks.Team members and guests are required to wear masks at all times, there is less table game seating, social distancing is encouraged, and hand sanitizing stations are available.
Phase Two begins on June 5 and will return the Tribal casino to 24-hour operations. Phase Two also has the hotel opening with limited availability and brings bingo back to the event center to allow for social distancing.
“Please remember that you play an essential role in keeping Treasure Island safe by adhering to social distancing requirements, washing your hands frequently, wearing a mask, and, most importantly, staying home if you are sick.” the website states.
Lower Sioux Indian Community
Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel is among the Minnesota Tribal casinos that opened on June 1 with limited capacity, less seating, and reduced hours. Upon entering the property, patrons will be checked for temperature, masks are required by all, and floor seating has been reduced by about 50 percent.
Blackjack tables will allow three patrons per table, and stylus pens will be available to use on slot machines to reduce the amount of patrons touching the machines. Lower Sioux Lodge will be open at half capacity but the pool, sauna, exercise room, arcade, and business center will remain closed.
White Earth Nation
The Shooting Star Casinos in Mahnomen and Bagley are tentatively scheduled for phased reopening beginning June 19 with limited venues, hours, and occupancy. Patrons will be subject to temperature checks upon entering the properties, and patrons are “highly encouraged” to wear masks. Slot machines have been spaced out and floor decals have been placed to encourage physical distancing.
“The decision to close our doors for the first time in 28 years since opening in May of 1992 was not an easy one. We want to thank our guests and team for the overwhelming support and continued loyalty throughout this difficult time for all. While you’ve been away, we have been working diligently behind the scenes to put measures into place to keep you safe when you return,” states the Shooting Star Mahnomen website.
The hotel, RV park, and gift shop will be open with limited occupancy, but there will be no concerts in the event center. Also not opening in Mahnomen are the Sereniitee Spa, Golden Eagle Bingo and teleconference bingo, Poker, 2ONE8, Traditions Buffet, and the pool.
Leech Lake Band of Chippewa
Cedar Lakes Casino, White Oak Casino, and the Northern Lights Casino Hotel and Events Center all remain closed but a phased reopening plan has been released on the Tribal casino website.
Phase One will include slot machines, alcohol service on the casino floor, Snack Bar “Grab & Go” items, and the Gift Shop. Phase Two will include table sames, restaurants, hotel, and the Event Center. Phase Three includes national and cabaret entertainment, bingo, and fitness centers. The Band said phases were subject to change.
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
The Black Bear Casino Resort and Fond-du-Luth Casino remain closed and no date for reopening has been released.
“We are working tirelessly on a plan for the eventual reopening of the casino,” said Maurice Ojibway, Fond-du-Luth Casino Manager. “A reopening we hope is sooner than later, but in any event, will be designed to protect and keep safe our most precious assets — our customers and employees.”
“As many businesses begin to reopen, we will remain closed in accordance with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s Stay-at-Home resolution. Our commitment to operating the best hospitality and entertainment venue in the region has always gone far beyond meeting minimum legal requirements. This has not changed during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dan LaPrairie, General Manager, Black Bear Casino Resort. “During the closure, our team will be working hard on implementing comprehensive safety procedures that will allow our guests to have a safe, fun and memorable gaming experience when we are able to reopen. These initiatives include modernizing our sanitation standards and observing best practices for social distancing requirements.”
Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
There has been no date set for the reopening of Grand Portage Lodge & Casino.
“We continue to monitor the current Covid-19 crisis and have no new news to share at this point as to when we will be re-opening,” reads a post on Facebook. “While we are closed, we are working hard to create procedures and best practices for new business protocols as it relates to the Covid-19 response. When the day comes to reopen Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, we will have increased sanitation practices, social distancing measures and much more to help protect you, our employees and our community.”