As of 6AM today, June 11th, the Snoqualmie Valley’s largest employer – Snoqualmie Casino – reopened to the general public after a prolonged closure to support Washington State’s Stay Home, Stay Health order.
Snoqualmie Casino began welcoming members of its Crescent Club earlier in the week as it prepared to reopen to the general public today.
The majority of the extended closure was spent implementing new enhanced safety protocols upon reopening – things like plexiglass partitions at gaming tables and popular slot machines; securing needed masks for guests and extensive PPE for employees with extended exposure to guests, like dealers.
“The health and wellness of our guests, team members, and community takes precedence over anything else,” says Snoqualmie Tribe Chairman, Robert de los Angeles. “As an entertainment venue that welcomes guests from all over the region, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to not only adhere to health guidelines and recommendations, but to exceed them.”
With King County transitioning into Phase 1.5 and providing guidelines to begin re-opening restaurants and retail, Snoqualmie Casino Interim CEO and President Stanford Le outlined the casino’s comprehensive reopening plan supporting the state’s health recommendations.
Anyone entering Snoqualmie Casino will quickly notice the changes – from temperature scans upon entrance, to required masks, to less slot machines in operation and reduced capacity at gaming tables.
Le said Snoqualmie Casino capacity is currently limited to 1,000 guests, noting the facility has a maximum capacity of 8,000. The Falls Buffet has also transitioned to a full-service restaurant.
He said making that restaurant transition helped save numerous local jobs, explaining other casinos had chosen to close their buffets which forced employee furloughs.
Snoqualmie Casino Advertising and PR Manager Tarah Smigun said many team members were excited to return to work this past week. She said it was like a [social distanced] family reunion.
Although all team members and guests are required to wear masks, Smigun explained that guests at slots machines are allowed to smoke, but there is no smoking at any gaming tables. Guests can also remove masks in casino restaurants.
Stanford Le said, “Careful consideration and planning went into our opening strategy to ensure that we could provide the safest environment possible. We’ve been looking forward to welcoming our guests back and know that our decision to wait until it was safe to do so was the right one.”
Some new safety protocols at Snoqualmie Casino:
- on-floor guest capacity at 12.5% per hour, below the Washington health guidelines of 25% for restaurants and 15% for retail stores in Phase 1.5
- plexiglass shields at each station where guests interact with team members (i.e. cage, restaurant cashier, loyalty club booth)
- signage in areas both back of house and on the casino floor to promote social distancing
- plexiglass shields at various table games to create a barrier and between guests and dealers, as well as between guests themselves
- requiring masks for all team members and guests and providing masks to those who do not have one
- repurposing Falls Buffet to a full service dine-in al a carte restaurant
- Scanning temperatures of all team members and guests who enter the property
- socially distancing guests at slot machines by chair placement and machine availability
- plexiglass shields between most popular slot machines to optimize accessibility
- enhanced cleaning material standards and frequency, with high touch areas cleaned up to once every half hour
- sanitizing stations throughout the property, especially in high traffic areas