A trio of Coachella Valley casinos will reopen May 22 with a variety of modifications in place to address the coronavirus pandemic, including social distancing, temperature checks, wearing masks, and enhanced cleaning procedures.
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
The casino will to reopen at 2 p.m. May 22 with limited guest capacities and numerous new precautions in place to ensure the highest levels of safety and cleanliness.
Guests will be able to plays slots and table games, although seating will be limited, and some slots will be deactivated or equipped with plexiglass shields. Dining and beverages will be available at Mozen Asian Kitchen, Pink Coffee, Good Times Café, the Sideline Grill and the Food Court, however social distancing between diners will be enforced and seating will be limited.
During the extended closure, Morongo conducted a deep and thorough cleaning that sanitized every square inch of the casinos. Morongo leadership developed a reopening strategy that aligns with industry best practices for ensuring the health and safety of guests and team members. Elements of the plan include:
• Temperature Screenings: Temperature checks will be conducted with touchless devices for all guests and team members before entering the casinos.
• Limited Entrances and Capacity: The number of entrances will be reduced to ensure all guests and team members are screened. Guest entries will be limited to ensure adequate social distancing.
• Mandatory Masks and Plexiglass: Morongo guests, team members and vendors will be required to wear face masks at all times. Plexiglass shields have been installed between many slot machines with others being deactivated. Plexiglass shields will be available for table game players.
• Seating Limits: Some slot machines will be deactivated for social distancing and seating will be limited at table games.
• Social Distancing: Guests will be asked to maintain physical distance from each other where feasible, and team members will remind guests of this measure.
• Hand Sanitizer Stations: An increased number of automated hand sanitizing stations have been placed on the casino floors and throughout the properties.
• Enhanced Cleaning Schedules: Aggressive cleaning and sanitation schedules have been implemented.
• Air Systems: Morongo’s state-of-the art HVAC systems draw fresh air from outside of the casinos, and all air filters will be cleaned more frequently.
At this time, amenities that will remain closed including the hotel, Oasis Pool, Sage Spa, fitness center, Cielo Steakhouse, Potrero Canyon Buffet, valet parking, and the poker and bingo rooms.
With the reopening, guests will also be able to experience the luxurious new Morongo expansion, which broke ground in January 2019. Recently completed, the elegantly designed 65,000-square-foot expansion increases Morongo’s existing gaming floor by more than 30 percent, allowing for more slots, table games, and other guest amenities.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY SPOTLIGHT 29
Spotlight 29 and Tortoise Rock casinos
The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians will reopen Spotlight 29 in Coachella and Tortoise Rock in Twentynine Palms at 10 a.m. May 22.
The popular community casinos were closed as part of a nationwide effort to help curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus. During the closure, the casino, restaurants, and all public and back-of-house locations were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. After opening, these intensive cleaning procedures will continue.
State-of-the-art UV/Ionization air purification equipment has been purchased for both casinos. Created by RGF Environmental Group, Inc., the newly installed RGF PHI-Cell and REME HALO technology is widely used in healthcare facilities and has had documented success with validated test results showing 99+ percent reductions on similar viruses. The RGF-BioControls product line is recognized by Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Many other protective measures have been put into place to make sure that Spotlight 29 and Tortoise Rock casino guests can enjoy gaming safely. These include:
• Employees of the casinos will receive COVID-19 testing before returning to work and will receive periodic testing going forward for the foreseeable future.
• All guests, employees and vendors entering the Casino will have their temperature checked, and all guests and employees must wear protective masks and follow all rules for safety and compliance. If guests do not have masks, they will be provided free masks at the door.
• Every slot machine will be disinfected at least once per hour and after each use as possible. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be located throughout the casino floor and players will be encouraged and reminded to clean their hands frequently.
• The casino will be practicing social distancing so no one is less than six feet away when they play. This includes a removal of half of the slot chairs and not allowing group gaming, including table games.
• The casino restaurants and bars will also enact social distancing protocols, including removing seating and restructuring public areas to provide adequate space.
Recently, the Tribe partnered with the Borrego Community Health Foundation, the City of Coachella, and the County of Riverside to provide a location for a new East Valley COVID-19 testing site to offer testing for residents in the East Valley. This testing site is located on Tribal land adjacent to the Spotlight 29 casino and will remain there until it is no longer necessary. If anyone wished to get tested for the virus at this site, they are instructed to call 1-833-624-1097 to make a testing reservation.