Pechanga plans for extended closure, may temporarily lay off workers

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TEMECULA – Pechanga Resort Casino will likely stay closed past the end of March, and has plans to temporarily lay off workers if that happens, the casino’s spokesperson confirmed Monday.

The tribe initially announced on March 14 that it would close its doors through the end of the month.

It’s the first time in the casino’s history that it has ever closed to guests.

When the original announcement was made, the tribe said casino workers would continue to be receive pay and benefits during the closure, but with a possible extended shutdown, the tribe said workers will be temporarily laid off effective April 1.

“Leaders were originally optimistic that operations could resume by April 1,” Pechanga spokesperson Ciara Green said in a statement. “However, the spread and rapidly-evolving response to COVID-19 have forced a different outlook.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19.

“As much as we would love to bring everyone back April 1, the facts and circumstances indicate the closure will last much longer,” said Jared Munoa, President of the Pechanga Development Corporation. “This temporary layoff means we will bring our team back together as soon as possible when we get through this. As painful as this decision is, we have to be honest and give our Team Members as much notice as possible so that they can make appropriate preparations.”

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.