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Three Arizona Casinos Close After Employee Dies Of COVID-19

Gila River Gaming Closes Three Casino Properties For Two Weeks While Protocols Are Reviewed And Updated

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Wild Horse Pass CasinoThree tribal casinos in Arizona announced they were voluntarily shutting down operations again as a safeguard against another spike in coronavirus cases in the area.

Gila River Gaming closed Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva casinos at 2 a.m. Thursday morning and will stay that way for two weeks.

The move comes after a 68-year-old security guard who worked at Lone Butte contracted COVID-19 and died on June 11.

According to local news outlets, the casinos will reassess safety standards in the meantime and employees will continue to be paid for the duration of the closure.

“Like our sister tribes and businesses all over Arizona, we have tried to do what is best for all, while processing new information and new guidelines about the pandemic with little in the way of definitive guidance,” said Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis said in a press release.

Arizona casinos were given the green light to start the reopening process in mid-May. Gila River Gaming opened these three properties on May 15 at 50 percent capacity, the same day that Gov. Doug Ducey lifted the stay-at-home order which was in place for about two months.

The safety guidelines in place mirrored the set of rules in place at Nevada casinos. At the outset, only employees were required to wear face masks or other personal protective equipment, while it was only encouraged that customers use the same coverings. That changed in the last week as the casinos made it mandatory for both employees and patrons.