Six Tribal Casinos in Michigan to Shut for Three Weeks as Part of Newest Statewide Measures to Tackle Covid-19 Infection

Six tribal casino venues in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan will remain shut for the next three weeks as part of the latest restrictions that the state authorities have unveiled to tackle the further spread of the coronavirus infection.

On November 15th, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services revealed that a 3-week closure would be implemented, as the authorities are trying to get the increasing Covid-19 rates under control. Under the newest restrictions, the three non-tribal casinos in Detroit are also set to close.

For now, 18 tribal casino venues are expected to remain operational, with special precaution measures in place. Some unveiled they had decided to cancel certain events, to close dining areas and to implement some restrictions on their gaming floors.

Under the existing legislation, tribal casinos are not obliged to comply with state orders because they are independent in operating their gambling facilities. However, two Indian tribes have decided to voluntarily close their casinos in Michigan. As a result, all five Kewadin Casinos and Brimley-based Bay Mills Resort and Casino will remain shut for 3 weeks. Currently, there are 24 tribal casinos in the state of Michigan.

The Rest of Michigan Tribal Casinos to Work under Stricter Safety Measures

According to a news release, the Bay Mills Indian Community had its Bay Mills Resort and Casinos closed yesterday at noon, with the gambling venue set to resume operation on December 8th. This is the same date when the statewide coronavirus-related restrictions are set to end.

Apart from that, the Bay Mills Native American tribe set aside CARES Act funding in case another shutdown takes place. The move will allow them to pay their employees during the shutdown period.

As mentioned above, the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, on the other hand, opted to have all five of its Kewadin Casinos shut yesterday, with the reopening being scheduled for December 9th, too. The five venues that are set to be included in the current closures are Kewadin Casino Soult Ste. Marie, Kewadin Casino Christmas, Kewadin Casino Manistique, Kewadin Casino St. Ignace and Kewadin Casino Hessel.

On the other hand, according to an official announcement on the social media, the Island Resort and Casino in Harris, which is being run by the Hannahville Indian Community, is set to remain operational under stricter coronavirus protocols. Still, the Native American tribe decided to cancel some entertainment events, including live music and comedy, which were set to take place at the casino’s Club Four One by December 10th. The Firekeeper’s Restaurant at the venue is also temporarily closed.

An update regarding the operating hours of the Little River Casino in Manistee was made by the Little River Band of Ottawa. Apart from the limited working hours until December 8th at the earliest, the casino’s capacity will be restricted to 25%. Some of the services offered at the venue will not be operational during the period, too. Social distancing is being encouraged at the casino, with every other slot machine being turned off and all table games remaining inoperable.

The Leelanau Sands and the Turtle Creek casinos of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians are set to operate under reduced hours during the period of social distancing.

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