Tribal casinos in the United States are not bound to federal or local state laws, as the operators of such venues are considered sovereign nations. Because of this, they can choose to govern themselves. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many tribal casinos across the country either closed later than commercial casinos or reopened early. The venues still followed health and safety protocols, setting up temperature checks and required masks. In California, tribal casinos in San Diego County reopened well before businesses were allowed to do so, and now some feel that the reopening may have caused a resurgence in the spread of the deadly virus.
Inewsource just recently released a report on casinos in San Diego County. They visited seven total properties, which left only two that were not tracked. The report indicated that the properties were following pandemic protocols, including body scanners, checking temperatures, shutting down table games and having space between slot machines.
Employees were wearing masks and some of the casinos visited had plexiglass in place to ensure proper social distancing. However, even though the precautions were in place, employees spoke to inewsource and said they were fearful of their own health. They continue to work at the casinos because they need to be employed. The employees say that the safety protocols are not being followed on a consistent basis.
Similar to other businesses across the nation, the employees say the visitors of the casinos are not following the safety protocols. Employees have to continually ask patrons to put a mask on and they are not always doing so.
Since the casinos in San Diego County reopened in May, just over 110 employees have gotten sick with the virus, while just under 200 has as well. Just since the first of September, the county has seen almost 100 cases.
Employees also stated that the operators are not divulging information regarding the virus like they should, sometimes not reporting anything at all or waiting until much later to discuss cases on-site. some employees say they are only receiving updates due to rumors spreading throughout the properties.