Two local casinos set to open, as health officials advise against it

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TRINIDAD, Ca. (KIEM)-Two local casinos are set to reopen in the upcoming days, health officials are advising against it.

“As far as civil and regulatory goes, they can open-up without the public health officers, you know, approval,” said Humboldt County Sheriff, William Honsal.

Cher-Ae Heights and Bear River Casinos both set to open this week, both on sovereign land which means, they can open their doors to the public.

Southern Rancherias plan to do the same and are challenging Governor Gavin Newsom and his order to stay closed, said Honsal.

“They plan to and they are telling them they are going to open up despite his displeasure,” he said.

As local casinos plan to open despite Humboldt County’s Health Officer’s request for casinos to stay closed and wait for phase three before re-opening.

Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Franchovich said in an earlier address, she was hopeful casinos would reconsider.

“I do not think it is the right time, I am very concerned about introducing mass gatherings even with the best of intentions in terms of (being) following some distancing, and trying to cleaning, it is not safe.”

The ramifications may not be good, according to Franchovich.

“And I think it has the potential to have a negative impact on the community.”

Cher-Ae Heights Casino said in a statement, they will re-open Friday at 8 a.m., stressing that their employees have spent the last three months researching safety precautions through medical professionals and public health department recommendations, they can now implement.

To create a safe and clean environment the casino plans to close from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily to allow for the property to be sanitized, the statement read.

Face masks for all employees and guests will be mandatory as well as social distancing throughout the casino. Employees will have their temperatures checked before entering the facility and the use hand washing stations will also be a prerequisite to enter the casino for both guests and employees.

Bear River Casino plans to reopen Sunday at 30% capacity with similar adjustments as Cher-Ae Heights Casino.

They will, however, close between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. for extensive daily cleaning. 

Both casinos will remain 100% smoke-free until further notice.

“I urge the casinos to use whatever precautions necessary to ensure employees and the customers that show up there,” Honsal.

For more information on the state’s Resilience Roadmap click here.