On Friday, the Fort Sill Apache Tribe announced it would be the first to open its local casino this week.

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe Economic Development Authority Board of Trustees issued a statement that they had authorized the reopening of the Apache Casino Hotel, 2315 E. Gore, at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The hotel also will reopen on Thursday.

The casino and its adjoining hotel have been closed since mid-March due to the state of emergency from the spread of COVID-19 .

According to the tribe’s statement, health and safety remain a top priority. Many new health and safety measures have been implemented to keep guests, team members and community, safe upon reopening.

Measures include:

•Initial reopening hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Deep cleaning will be underway while closed.

•The property will open in phases, with some gaming machines, food outlets and other amenities remaining closed in the initial phase. Food outlets will open with limited menus and seating.

•Points of entry will be limited. Only the two front entrances will be available for guests.

•The property will be 100 percent smoke-free, with no smoking or vaping allowed inside until an undecided future date.

•All team members and guests will be required to wear a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring their own masks. A limited number of face masks will be available for purchase.

•All team members and guests will be required to have a non-invasive temperature check at the door and will be asked some brief health screening questions. Anyone who states that they feel ill or has a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be allowed inside.

•All guests will be requested to briefly lower their face coverings for age and identification purposes. Further proof of identification may be required by providing a physical ID card upon request.

•Guests will need to practice 6-foot social distancing from other guests not in their group, while standing in lines and moving around the property.

•Occupancy levels will be reduced to maintain enough social distancing.

•There will be frequent deep cleaning and sanitizing of all public spaces with an emphasis on frequently touched surfaces.

•Plexiglass barriers have been installed throughout the property.

•Signage on health and safety, sanitation and social distancing are located across the property and frequent overhead announcement will be made on these subjects.

•Slot machines, casino chairs, restaurant tables, bar chairs, and other physical layout changes have been made to provide as much distancing as possible between guests.

•In most cases, every other slot machine will not be available for play or to sit, except where safety barriers are in place. Slot machines will be routinely cleaned and sanitized and have visible logs of cleaning schedules.

•Live table games will be limited to two or three players per table until new divider barriers are in place. Chips and table touch points will be routinely cleaned and sanitized.

•Four-person maximum occupancy in elevators.

•The hotel lobby, pool area, business center and fitness room will remain closed in the initial phase.

•Valet services will remain suspended until further notice.

•All team members have had health and sanitation training.

According to the statement, these protocols are based on the Thursday re-opening date and are subject to change, based on reopening phases and evolving health and safety guidelines.

Along with being the columnist of Soundemonium Musaic, Scott Rains is also a police, fire, Native Affairs and roller derby reporter for The Lawton Constitution.

You can email him at: scott.rains@swoknews.com.


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