- By Native News Online Staff
WHITERIVER, Ariz. — The White Mountain Apache Tribe voluntarily suspended operations of its Hon-dah Casino on Sunday night, Oct. 18 after two employees tested positive for Covid-19. The attached Hon-dah Hotel was closed on Monday, Oct. 19 at checkout time.
The Hon-dah Resort Casino's website says the facility will be closed for two weeks.
A news release distributed by the tribe said the closing of the facility became necessary because two of the casino’s employees tested positive for Covid-19. Other casino employees, who came into contact with the two, entered into a 14-day quarantine period. As a result, the casino and hotel will have a staffing shortage to adequately operate the facility.
Tribal officials said most casino employees received a Covid-19 test last week. Employees who did not get tested will be tested soon, the casino said.
“We are acting swiftly to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our employees and our customers. At Hon-Dah, we put our people and our community’s needs first,” Hon-Dah Casino general manager Brent Kurth said in a press release.
The White Mountain Tribe’s public health protocols require that employees exposed to known positive cases of Covid-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days even if they test negative. This recommendation is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent further spreading of the virus.
The tribe said no cases among customers or guests have been identified. However, one of the staff members who tested positive was in contact with employees who serve the public.
Hon-Dah Casino management anticipates to resume normal business operations once public health officials and management believe it is safe to do so for employees and guests.
During the initial outbreak of Covid-19 across the country in March and April, tribal casinos voluntarily closed to ensure the health and safety of their communities, customers and staff. Many remained closed until early summer and instituted safety measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
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