- By Andrew Kennard
TEMECULA, Calif. — The largest casino in California dropped masking requirements for fully vaccinated guests and staff Tuesday, coinciding with the state of California’s reopening.
Unvaccinated guests are still asked to wear masks while indoors, the Pechanga Resort Casino said. The casino said that staff members who provide proof of completed vaccination to the Pechanga Human Resources Department will receive a $100 gift card. The Pechanga Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and was voted #3 Best Casino Hotel by readers of USA Today.
Pechanga’s move follows recent relaxations of other Native casinos’ mask mandates. In May, masks were made completely optional at all of the Cherokee Nation and Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida’s gaming venues, according to reporting from the Cherokee Phoenix in Oklahoma and Local10 News in Florida. However, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), 58 (11%) of the 527 Indian gaming operations in the U.S. were still closed as of June 7.
The casino said the move aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state government. The latter ended its stay-at-home order, masking requirement for vaccinated Californians, and other regulations effective Tuesday, according to the office of the governor.
Pechanga also said “the majority” of the casino’s slot machines will become available for use in the upcoming days and weeks, a significant increase from when less than half of the machines were available for use following Pechanga’s reopening in June 2020.
In May, Pechanga Resort Casino reopened its spa, hotel, and “The Cove,” a relaxation area featuring pools, cabanas, spas, and waterslides, according to the casino. The resort and casino offers more than 5,000 slot machines, 158 table games, 1,100 hotel rooms, dining, spa, and golf, according to its website.
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