- By Native News Online Staff
RIVERTON, Wyo. — Citing a surge of Covid-19 cases in Wyoming’s Fremont County, the Northern Arapaho Business Council announced Sunday that the Wind River Hotel & Casino and other tribal gaming facilities will temporarily close their doors.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe’s gaming facilities closed Monday and will remain shuttered through Nov. 30, according to a press release from the tribe. The tribe said casino employees will continue to be employed during the closures, though some may temporarily transition into other role roles. No layoffs, furloughs or reductions in pay were announced.
The tribe said the facilities could reopen on Dec. 1 if conditions allow it.
“We’ve seen no indication the casino is a source of virus spread in our community, but tribal health authorities have urged the Business Council to temporarily close these facilities due to surging case numbers in Fremont County,” said Chairman Lee Spoonhunter of the NABC in a statement. “This is a critical moment for the Arapaho people and all residents of the Wind River Reservation. If we don’t take responsible actions now – and if individuals don’t follow the guidelines and protect themselves and their loved ones – we risk losing to this virus even more of our sacred elders, family members, friends and neighbors in the months ahead.”
Chairman Spoonhunter was recently diagnosed with Covid-19, and is experiencing mild symptoms. According to the tribe’s announcement, he is in quarantine and continues to work on behalf of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
The tribe also announced reduced office hours for some tribal departments, which also took effect Monday. Offices with limited hours, such as enrollment and finance, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, while critical departments and services, such as sanitation, food delivery, elder services and law enforcement, will not be affected.
Fremont County has had more Covid-related deaths than any other Wyoming county.
Support Independent Indigenous Journalism
Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission: We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country. We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.
Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.