Updated August 24, 2021
Tribal governments continue to monitor the evolving COVID pandemic and are enacting policies and protective measures to safeguard vulnerable populations, Indian and non-Indian alike.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Tribes made the difficult decision to temporarily close casinos and many other business enterprises to ensure important protocols were in place to keep employees, guests and the community safe—forgoing vital revenue used to fund government services such as health care, education, elder programs, infrastructure and human services. After months of planning and implementation, all tribal casinos in Washington were able to reopen and safely resume gaming.
Specific steps taken to protect public health varied depending on the gaming facility, but included limiting the number of guests to support physical distancing, additional cleaning protocols, enhanced ventilation, increased testing, and vaccinating employees, among others.
In addition to adjusting gaming facility operations, Tribal governments have been at the forefront of administering vaccinations to tribal and non-tribal communities. In fact, Tribes have been recognized for their generosity, creative methods of encouraging vaccination, and outstanding success rate.
Tribes continue to monitor the COVID pandemic and are adapting their practices to protect health, the economy, jobs, and communities. For example, due to surging cases of the Delta variant in August 2021, many tribal enterprises reinstituted mask mandates. In some instances, Tribes have re-instituted shelter-in-place orders to protect vulnerable populations.
Since this is a rapidly changing situation with unique circumstances for each community, it is best to reach out to individual Tribes to learn more about specific safety practices.
Tribal Casino Resources
- Lower Elwha
- Port Gamble S’Klallam
- Shoalwater Bay
- Squaxin Island
Washington State Resources