Sycuan Casino Resort officially reopens to the public

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Posted at 4:48 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 21:08:49-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After a soft opening to invited guests Tuesday, Sycuan Casino Resort officially reopened to the public Wednesday.

The casino has been closed for two months during the coronavirus pandemic and reopened with limited operations.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom urged tribal governments to reconsider their reopening plans and remain closed for now.

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Casinos are considered "higher risk" workplaces and fall under phase three of the governor's four-part reopening plan.

But, those that sit on tribal land don't have to follow the same regulations most businesses do.

"We certainly respect the governor's position, and the job that he's done is a very difficult one," said General Manager Rob Cinelli. "We did feel that we were safe to open, or else we wouldn't have."

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Cinelli said he received feedback from customers and staff Tuesday at the soft opening.

"We got a lot of positive feedback from our customers," he said. "On the team members' side, we want them to come back to work, but we want them to feel safe. The feedback I've gotten from them is that they're happy to be back to work."

Before walking through the doors, guests are given temperature checks and must be wearing a facial covering.

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Once through the doors, many changes are in place.

"We have half of our slot machines open, half of our table game spots open," said Cinelli. "Valet is closed, buffet is closed, bingo's closed, poker is closed, so I mean we are opening in our own phases."

The restaurants have limited operations, and the pool is also closed. Shuttle buses are only available for employees to use.

The floors are marked for physical distancing at lines, plexiglass shields have been installed at all service counters, and every other gaming machine is turned off to increase the distance between players. Only three people are allowed to sit at a gaming table at a time.

Hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the casino, and crews will be cleaning multiple times a day.

"While we were closed, we applied a product from a company called TruClean, which is a protectant from bacteria and viruses," said Cinelli.