The Silver Reef Casino Resort partially re-opened on May 22. The casino, at 4876 Haxton Way near Ferndale, is operating with new safety measures in place, including operating the building at 50 percent capacity, according to a press release from the casino.
The Silver Reef Casino closed March 17 to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
“This decision was made with careful consideration of the well-being of guests, employees and tribal members,” said Lawrence Solomon, Chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council, in the press release “We have worked closely with our Lummi Public Health Team and taken every available precaution to minimize the risk."
In addition to restricting the number of people inside to half capacity, guests must have a valid phone number and stay in their cars until they're summoned to enter. Guests get temperature checks and must wear a mask to get in.
Once inside, guests will find floor markers in high-traffic areas, hand sanitizer stations on the floor, plexiglass protective barriers, and fewer machines operating and fewer players per table than typical, according to the release. Additionally, guests are not allowed to touch cards at table games, and casino staff is taking extra sanitation and cleaning efforts.
Employees will also get temperature checks and will wear masks, according to the news release. The buffet will be closed and the hotel will open in early June, the casino announced in the news release.
The press release mentioned the importance of the casino to its employees and as a revenue source for Lummi Nation's essential government services. The casino is one of the largest employers in Whatcom County.
“The closure of Silver Reef Casino Resort has come at a tremendous price for our employees that we had to furlough.” said Marty Sauvage, CEO of Silver Reef Casino Resort. “We are pleased to be able to bring many of them back to work under the safest possible conditions.”
According to Washington governor Jay Inslee's guidelines for phase one of re-opening the state, which Whatcom County is currently in, businesses similar to casinos where people gather indoors are not allowed to be open. The Lummi Nation is a sovereign nation and the state doesn't have authority to regulate gaming at the casino.
The casino had a “soft” re-opening for Lummi Nation Tribal members on May 21, before opening to the general public.