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Cherokee Nation suspends casino, hotel operations

Officials have temporarily suspended all operations at Cherokee Nation Entertainment casinos and hotels, including Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

TULSA, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, and Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Chuck Garrett, have continued to monitor the impact that the COVID-19 virus has had across the nation and throughout our tribal community.

Chief Hoskin, alongside Cherokee Nation Businesses, the business arm of the Cherokee Nation, will temporarily suspend all operations at Cherokee Nation Entertainment casinos and hotels, including Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

During the suspended operations, no employee will go without a paycheck, according to a press release.

The suspension of operations is effective at 11:59 p.m., March 16 and through March 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes Cherokee casinos in Tulsa, Ramona, West Siloam Springs, Sallisaw, Roland, South Coffeyville, Fort Gibson, Tahlequah, Grove and Will Rogers Down.

Currently, there are no reports of positive COVID-19 cases on any CNB or Cherokee Nation properties. These measures have been deemed in the best interest of the public’s health and ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Officials will reevaluate the safety and feasibility of reopening during this public health crisis.

Officials released the following statement saying in part:

"We ask that our communities, and each one of us, do what we can to show, Uwohiyuhi, which is the Cherokee word for respect, as we all need to respect our communities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“For the Cherokee Nation, our first priority is our people and making sure our citizens, employees and patrons are safe and cared for during this pandemic. We continue our commitment to being proactive. Whether we can prevent the spread of a few cases or many cases within our tribe and within our community, we are being vigilant in protecting our people,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.

“In the past month, Cherokee Nation Businesses has dedicated additional resources to cleaning and disinfecting our properties alongside actions to close specific venues that cater to large gatherings. It is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires advanced measures to slow the transmission of this highly contagious virus,” Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Chuck Garrett said. “Our responsibility to our patrons and employees, in addition to the latest CDC guidelines, has triggered a cautionary but temporary suspension of our casino operations to the public.  The safety and health of our communities, patrons and employees are paramount. It is our hope that taking these preventive measures will minimize everyone’s risk of exposure.”

The Cherokee Nation is communicating directly with employees. The Cherokee Nation will continue to provide updates at www.anadisgoi.com.

Choctaw Casinos and Resorts have also taken the same measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Indigo Sky Casino will also close its doors starting Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m. through April 2nd.

American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller released the following statement on the economic toll the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the U.S. casino gaming industry:

“An estimated 616,000 casino gaming employees are prevented from working because of the important health and safety decisions made by state governments. Nearly all (95%) of the country’s 465 commercial casinos, and three-in-four (76%) of the country’s 524 tribal casinos, have shuttered their doors. The impact on our employees, their families, and communities is staggering, and the implications extend far beyond the casino floor. Leading technology companies that supply the industry, and the nearly 350,000 small business employees that rely on gaming for their livelihood, are also feeling the devastating blow of this unprecedented public health crisis. The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work. Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action. In total, these mass closures will rob the U.S. economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if American casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks. Gaming is an economic engine, employing millions of local residents, generating community investment through vital tax revenue, and supporting small businesses in communities all across the country.”

Background

  • Casino closures risk nearly $74 billion in total wages annually for workers and their families.
  • Casino gaming supports $41 billion in annual tax revenue and tribal revenue sharing nationwide – essential support for local hospitals, first responders, and vital public services.
  • Half the jobs our industry supports are at non-gaming businesses such as restaurants and local shops – all will be dramatically affected by a local casino’s closure.
  • Casino gaming is vital to local small businesses, delivering $52 billion annually in small business revenue, including construction, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale firms. More information on COVID-19’s impact on U.S. casino industry workers and local communities is available here.

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