Tribal Casinos in San Diego County Stay Tight Lipped About COVID-19
Tribal casinos in San Diego County reopened casinos before the state allowed and now many wonder how they might have been affected by the coronavirus.
In San Diego County, tribal casino operators decided to reopen their gaming venues before the state of California said it was okay to do so. This was not an illegal move as the casinos operate on tribal lands and the tribes are not subject to traditional US government rules. Now that the casinos have been reopened for a few months, many people are wondering how they might have been affected by COVID-19. The operators are remaining tight-lipped as to if and how they were affected.
Public Health Information
Officials from the public health department in the state have said that over 300 of the residents in San Diego County that tested positive for the virus visited a casino before testing positive. However, the county will not provide information if any outbreaks took place in the community due to the casinos on tribal lands.
The tribal government has not provided much information and because they are not subject to state and federal disclosure laws, they don’t have to. Unfortunately for the region, this means that the metric the county uses to configure reopening decisions is not necessarily correct. Right now, San Diego County already has too many outbreaks based on the threshold set by the officials from public health.
The casinos on tribal lands started reopening in May and followed new cleaning policies as well as using face masks and social distancing techniques. However, employees have raised concerns over COVID-19 issues.
Casinos appear to be doing what they should be, from using thermal cameras for temperature scanning, disabling certain games to promote social distancing and table game attendants wearing face masks and even Plexiglass barriers installed. The properties are offering indoor dining and guests can remove their face mask to eat, drink as well as smoke.
New Protocols Not Always Followed
While it appears as the casinos are following the rules, employees tell a different story. According to inewsource, employees of three casinos in the county were willing to talk about the protocols and how they are not always followed.
They say that mask policies are hard to enforce with guests. This is understandable especially considering how many people remain anti-mask even today. Crowds often form at the slots and table games, despite employees trying to minimize groups. Employees also say that management is not offering information on coronavirus cases that are linked to their facility.
Since the casinos reopened in May, the county has reported that 112 employees and 196 patrons have contracted the virus and visited a casino within a 14 day time frame of the sickness. Of the just over 300 cases by early October, three people died.
Health officials have stressed that just because a person was at a casino during their exposure period does not mean they contracted the virus from a gaming facility. Officials have been unable to pinpoint a direct connection to a casino employee and patron who has caught the virus.
It is unclear as to if any of the cases created a community outbreak. It seems public officials are doing their best to trace back the steps of those who have contracted the virus to try and find the transmission point. By learning this information, it can be determined if there is a community outbreak or not.
For now, players should be aware of their surroundings and take care to stay safe, no matter which casino is being visited. As the flu season starts to take shape, it is expected that there will be an uptick in both Flu and Coronavirus cases. Wearing face masks and social distancing are two proven ways to try and stay safe from both sicknesses.