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Navajo Gaming to decide casino closures


As casinos, both Indian-owned and private, all across the country are closing their doors temporarily in light of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, the board of directors for the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise are meeting today to discuss the situation.

The enterprise issued a press release on Friday saying that the threat of catching the virus in this area is low and precautions were put in place to protect customers who show up at its four casinos over the weekend.

“We have significantly increased our cleaning and sanitation on all of our guest and employee touch-points,”said Brian Parrish, the interim CEO of the enterprise, “as well as providing an abundance of alcohol-based sanitizers throughout all areas of the property and the casino floor.”

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The casinos have begun to thoroughly clean all eras of the facilities, such as the slot machines, periodically during the day.

The casinos have also stopped serving buffets for the time being because of the risk of spreading the virus.

By Friday, almost all of the tribally owned casinos in Southern California had closed their doors and the news media was reporting closures all over the country, even in Las Vegas.

Some of these closures came after the Centers for Disease Control reported COVID-19 cases their areas but most have occurred where no cases have been reported so far.

Government officials in both New Mexico and Arizona closed public schools and urged people to stay home and to stay away from places that have crowds. This has caused some casinos in the states to limit the number of gamers at one time in their casinos to no more than 250.

Parrish on Sunday declined to speculate on the possibility that the enterprise will close down its four casinos. He said the enterprise will provide an update after the board meeting Monday afternoon.

About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.


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