SAN DIEGO — Five San Diego casinos will be opening their doors this week to the public, despite Governor Gavin Newsom's request they reconsider.
Viejas opened its doors at 8 a.m. Friday morning and were already at capacity by 11:30 a.m. This prompted security guards to temporarily close the parking lots and let the people waiting in their cars know of a potential 2-hour wait.
On Friday, Governor Newsom sent a letter to the tribal governments asking them to reconsider their plans to reopen. The Los Angeles Times reports that the governor told them he understands that partial reopening of casinos is crucial to tribes raising government revenue to take care of their communities.
He wrote: "However, I cannot stress enough that the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains a serious threat for all Californians."
The tribes are sovereign nations and aren't under the authority of the state or county.
Here are the five casinos set to reopen:
- Viejas Casino: reopened Monday
- Jamul Casino: reopened to select casino members Monday. Public reopening is Thursday
- Sycuan Casino: reopens Wednesday
- Valley View Casino: reopens Friday
- Harrah's Resort Southern California: reopens Friday
Thursday San Diego County Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, changed her tone regarding the reopening of casinos.
"They have that same mission and goal," said Dr. Wooten. "We both have the same goal. We will be working with them to make sure they follow social distancing and masking."
All five casinos listed safety guidelines on their websites. The majority will require guests to have their temperature taken before entering the casino.
Representatives of Harrah's Resort Southern California announced late Monday that the casino and other areas of the resort will begin their first phase of reopening Friday, May 22 at noon.
“The health of our guests, employees and surrounding community remains to be our top priority. It is due to this commitment to our patrons and staff, that we are pleased to reopen the doors of our gaming facility,” stated Rincon Tribal Chairman Bo Mazzetti.