Pokagon Band announces new safety measures for reopening casinos

DOWAGIAC — The Pokagon Gaming Authority recently announced that all of its Four Winds Casinos locations in Michigan and Indiana will reopen to the public at noon Monday, June 15.

Each Four Winds Casino location has implemented changes to their amenities and services to help protect the health and safety of guests and employees, and will continue to provide an enjoyable entertainment experience.   

“With the approval of our reopening plan by the Pokagon Gaming Authority and Pokagon Gaming Commission which includes the implementation of several additional health, sanitization and social distancing measures approved by the Pokagon Health Task Force, we are pleased to confirm that we will welcome guests back to all of our Four Winds Casinos locations,” said Frank Freedman, chief operating officer of Four Winds Casinos.  “As the health and safety of our guests and employees has been and continues to remain our top priority, we will be opening with some changes to our amenities and services.  With these changes, we will continue to exceed expectations and provide excellent customer service that the Four Winds Casinos are known for.”    

“The reopening of our casinos comes at a critical time for our Tribe and our employees that are in need of economic relief,” added Matthew Wesaw, tribal council chairman and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority. “Unlike state and local governments, which predominately use tax dollars to operate, the Pokagon Band is a Sovereign Native American Government, which relies on revenue from its business ventures to fund critical services and programs for our citizens including healthcare, housing, education, family services, financial support, elder care, police, courts and more.  Although our closure was voluntary due to our sovereignty and to protect everyone’s health and safety, great care was taken by our Gaming Authority, Gaming Commission, Health Task Force and casino management team on how to reopen with the proper health and safety measures in place.” 

Upon entering each casino through designated entrances, guests will be required wear a mask and be screened using touchless temperature check technology. The age of guests will be restricted to those 21 and older as some non-gaming amenities will be closed. The number of active slot machines has been reduced and in some cases chairs and machines have been moved, while very popular games have plexiglass dividers to help ensure social distancing guidelines. There will also be reduced seating at table games.     

Additional cleaning teams have been added in every area of the casinos with a focus on frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces. All Four Winds team members will also be washing and sanitizing their hands more frequently, for at least 20 seconds and practicing respiratory etiquette.

Dining venues will be limited with seating and hours of operation. Touchless menus will be available at each restaurant using a scanned QR code and a disposable menu will be provided upon request. There will be more spacing in between tables, and party sizes will be limited. Self-service beverage stations will now be equipped with a team member for assistance.    

Additional procedures and service modifications to protect the health and safety of guests and employees include: 

• Masks will be worn by all employees

• Additional signage containing COVID-19 prevention and social distancing reminders with be posted throughout each casino location

• Rescheduled entertainment will be announced as dates are confirmed

• Valet and group shuttle service will not be offered

• The buffets will be closed

“We are in this new journey together and excited to welcome guests back,” added Frank Freedman.  “Hopefully, we can return to our full complement of gaming, dining, entertainment, and event options soon. Please visit our website, fourwindscasino.com, for a full list of details, safety protocols and guidelines. Also follow our social media pages for periodic updates.”

Previously, the Pokagon Gaming Authority announced the closure of its Four Winds Casinos on Tuesday, March 17, and an indefinite extension of the closure period on March 27.  The reopening plan was approved by the Pokagon Gaming Authority and Pokagon Gaming Commission was approved during a hearing on June 8.