Reported the Arizona Republic

Gila River casinos temporarily close again after employee death, Arizona’s rising COVID-19 cases

As of 2 a.m. Thursday, Gila River Hotels & Casinos shuttered all three of its properties for two weeks amid a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Arizona.

Leaders at Gila River Hotels & Casinos declined The Arizona Republic’s repeated requests to confirm the number of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying that they will not disclose the information to “protect the privacy” of their workers.

The Gila River Indian Community operates Lone Butte and Wild Horse Pass casinos near Chandler and Vee Quiva casino near Laveen.

The announcement comes a week after a security guard at Lone Butte Casino died of complications related to COVID-19, according to his family.

This is the second closure for the casinos. Like other tribal casinos across Arizona, Gila River’s three casinos shut down because of COVID-19 in mid-March. The Gila River casinos initially reopened May 15, the same day Gov. Doug Ducey lifted Arizona’s stay-at-home order.

Casino and tribal leaders had promised to institute new safety measures when they reopened in May, including encouraging patrons to wear masks.

During the two week closure, casino officials will “reassess its current safety standards” after evaluating its safety plan with the Gila River Indian Community Council and receiving “feedback from its community and team members.”


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