2 Coachella Valley casinos to reopen Friday

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Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula plans to reopen on June 1. Two Coachella Valley casinos are reopening even sooner — Agua Caliente casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage plan to reopen their doors on Friday, May 22. Valley News/Jeff Pack photo

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians announced today that its two Coachella Valley casinos will reopen on Friday after being shuttered for more than two months due to the coronavirus emergency.

The tribe, as a sovereign nation, opted to shut down its gaming and entertainment operations in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage in late March.

Both casinos will open at noon amid increased sanitization efforts, temperature checks, face covering requirements and other efforts aimed at curbing COVID-19.

“Upon re-opening, our Tribe’s top priority will be to create and maintain the safest environment possible for everyone who interacts with our facilities, including guests, team members and vendors,” tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said in a statement. “We have spent the past two months re-evaluating the way we do business in this new environment. We have changed our perspective and have improved upon our business practices. Our guests demand and deserve the kind of care and attention that goes into providing the highest quality experience.”

Smoking inside will be banned at the casinos, their occupancy will be cut in half to encourage social distancing and seats at table games will be cut down as well, according to the tribe.

Buffets at both properties will remain shuttered, as will the spa, cigar lounge and a handful of other facilities at the tribe’s Rancho Mirage location.

Three other tribal casinos in Southern California are set to reopen Friday.

Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa near Cabazon is targeting a 2 p.m. reopening time with added safety measures, including temperature screenings and limited guest capacity, according to the Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians.

The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians plan to open its Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella and Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palm at 10 a.m., also with new protective measures, including recently purchased air purification equipment and mandatory face coverings.

The Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians previously announced it would reopen its Soboba Casino near San Jacinto at noon on May 27, with new measures in place designed to guard against COVID-19. The Soboba hotel, on the other hand, will remain closed until further notice, according to the casino’s website.

Last week, Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula set a June 1 target for reopening with similar measures.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution offering its symbolic, yet not legally binding, support to regional tribes who have decided to reopen casinos.