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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego County working with CDC to stop next week's reopening of casinos

The gambling industry said it’s more than ready to reopen with strict decontamination and social distancing measures in place.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The high-stakes dispute over how and when to reopen the economy is hitting the gambling world.

San Diego area casinos are planning their big reopenings next week, but health officials now say they are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep them from opening too soon.

“Opening up casinos will cause a risk to our public’s health,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

Sycuan, Valley View, and Viejas Casino & Resort are among several planning reopenings this month. 

The casinos operate under Tribal government, but the County of San Diego is worried that large casino gatherings could lead to unnecessary death in the midst of a global pandemic.

“And we want to make it perfectly clear that we do not agree with the reopening of casinos,” Wooten said.

The gambling industry said it’s more than ready to reopen with strict decontamination and social distancing measures in place.

Sycuan Casino and Resort released video earlier this week of workers spraying down everything from machines to tables.

“We obviously need to do it safely,” said General Manager Rob Cinelli.

Executives said every other slot machine will be turned off. Table games will be limited to fewer players. Masks and temperature checks will be required before entering an establishment.

“Obviously there’s always a risk, but we’re doing everything to minimize that risk,” said Cinelli.

“If they do open and ignore our request not to open, then we would definitely have to ensure stringent practices in place to help protect the public health,” said Wooten.

In a statement, Sycuan added:

“We share the same concern for public health and safety, and that is why our re-opening plan incorporates all federal, state and county public health guidance and industry best practices.”

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