Navajo Nation casinos shut down due to virus
CHURCH ROCK, N.M.
The four casinos operated by the Navajo Nation are closing due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The Navajo Nation Gaming board or directors sent a memo temporarily shutting all four casinos — Fire Rock Casino, Twin Arrows Casino, Northern Edge Casino, and Flowing Water Navajo Casino — for three weeks.
Prior to approval of the shutdown, at Fire Rock casino patrons’ temperatures were checked at the front entrance with a thermometer.
The gaming board said the casinos would reopen on April 6, according to the memo,
On Monday, President Jonathan Nez said the tribe will lose about $3- to 5 million in casino revenue.
“The health and well-being of our Navajo people is of utmost importance and not just profit,” Nez said.
“We did send a letter to the gaming enterprise, telling them to shut the casinos down,” Nez said. “They’re gonna have to consider losing millions of dollars for closing.”
Vinton Shack and his wife, Valerie Kellestewa, both from Zuni, said they support the casino closings.
“It’s kind of scary,” Shack said. “It’s kind of spreading real quick. It’s all over.”
Shack and Kallestewa said they plan to spend more time with their kids at home.
During the shutdown, gaming employees are to stay in contact with their supervisors.
To date, Nez said there are no confirmed cases reported on the reservation.