TEMECULA – Pechanga Resort Casino will close temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tribal leaders announced Saturday evening.
The casino will be shuttered through the end of March, Pechanga spokesperson Ciara Green said in an email statement.
Pechanga employees will continue to receive their base pay and benefits during the closure, Green said.
“As the Tribal Government and major employer of thousands of people, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close Pechanga Resort Casino for the health and safety of our Team Members, Tribal Members and guests due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro said. “No matter what, the Pechanga family will rise to this challenge together with the strength, compassion, determination and resilience that our ancestors instilled in us.”
This is the first time Pechanga Resort Casino has ever closed to guests, Green confirmed to Valley News.
Other casinos in Riverside County remained open as of Sunday afternoon but were taking extra precautions to guard against the virus’ spread.
“On our gaming floor and in our hotel, we have dedicated additional staff to the sanitizing and disinfecting of all slot machines, table games, restrooms, bars, players’ club, guest rooms, and dining venues,” said Soboba Casino Resort assistant general manager Jason Cozart in a statement on Thursday.
The same efforts were being made in employee areas, according to Cozart.
Soboba also canceled a Friday night comedy show featuring Colin Jost and Nick Swardson.
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio postponed its March slate of shows, including performances by Pitbull, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Chaka Khan, and Dancing With the Stars dancers.
Tickets to those events will be honored for the new dates, which have yet to be announced, according to a statement released on Thursday.
“Regular casino operations will continue as we remain diligent about upholding the highest standards of cleanliness and providing a first-class experience for our customers,” said Fantasy Springs General Manager Paul Ryan.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday called for the immediate shutdown of bars, nightclubs, brew pubs and wineries to help stop the spread of coronavirus, which may further affect casino operations.
Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser confirmed two new COVID-19 cases in Riverside County on Saturday, bringing the county total to 14.
Various school districts and local government agencies have announced closures over the last few days.
Will Fritz can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Staff Writer Jeff Pack contributed to this story. CNS contributed to this story.