Casinos roll the dice on re-opening

Travel and tourism industries were especially hard hit as states issued stay-at-home orders across the Midwest,  in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri casinos were forced to shutter their doors.

Now, as the peak of the summer travel season approaches, many are open or preparing to open. There’s a sense of excitement as casinos and other attractions get ready to welcome their customers back amid changes brought about by COVID-19.

 Downstream Casino Resort is owned and operated by the Quapaw Nation and the hotel has opened three floors in the Kappa Tower and one floor in the Osotouy Tower during phase one of the reopening.

“We are confident you will enjoy all of the enhancements we have put in place to ensure you continue to enjoy the improved version of Downstream Casino Resort,” said General Manager Jani Cummings.

According to Cummings, every guest and team member will be temperature checked and those with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be turned away. The casino has installed plexiglass partitions.  Guests are not required to wear a mask, but are strongly encouraged to wear them and will be provided with one. All employees will wear masks.

“We have developed extensive health & sanitation protocols covering all departments and public areas of Downstream. Our team receives basic COVID-19 training as well as in-depth department training,” said Cummings. “Our staff are mandated to wear masks when in front of house with the guests and the majority of our team is also wearing gloves.”

Changes have also been made to encourage social distancing in the casino and hotel occupancy is limited. The Grand Lake Casino is owned and operated by the Seneca-Cayuga Nation. While the casino is open, the Lodge will remain closed.

"The safety of our team members, guests and community is our number one priority. Our commitment is to make Grand Lake Casino cleaner and safer than ever," said General Manager, Dusty Logan.  

For guests this means temperatures taken with a touchless thermometer, the requirement of a mask, presentation of a photo ID, the use of social distancing, the closing of some slot machines, the closing of table games, no food, beverages, smoking, vaping or e-cigarettes on the floor and sanitizing stations placed throughout the casino.

For employees, this means temperatures taken with a touchless thermometer and the requirement of a mask.

“We are very excited to welcome our guests back to the casino on May 21. We have missed everyone and are ready to get back to work,” Logan previously said.

Cherokee Casino is owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation. The casino has implemented the ‘Responsible Hospitality’ plan put forth by the Cherokee Nation. The program is “defined to enhance safety and minimize risk for Cherokee Nation Entertainment (CNE) team members and guests."

The plan will be implemented in three phases: now - immediately upon reopening, near - progress and adapt to a new operating environment and future - incorporate firsthand learning experience with data and science to add resiliency and preparation for stable, healthy, long-term operations.

“How we move forward from this pandemic will be a part of our legacy,” said Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “We intend to emerge confident in the knowledge that we did all we could to implement industry-leading protocols that promote the health and safety of our team members and guests. While the guest experience will be different than before, we will continue to deliver the same first-class hospitality and entertainment our guests have come to know and love.”

That means changes for team members and guests. 

It’s time to let the good, clean fun begin at Kansas Crossing Casino.

Casino management announced the doors are open and they are ready to welcome guests back to enjoy the amenities the casino offers. 

When you come back to Kansas Crossing Casino, you’ll see the impact of our casino-wide Extra Care initiative to ensure the health and safety of guests. 

This includes: 

• The availability of anti-bacterial wipes throughout the casino 

• Frequent sanitation of all screens, table tops and beverage centers 

• Touchless hand sanitizer stations throughout the property 

• Floor decals to help guests maintain physical distancing • Some gaming devices will have chairs removed to help with physical distancing 

• Due to physical distancing Table games will remain closed until a later date.

“All team members who work in direct guest-service areas will be wearing masks as part of their uniforms,” said Jeff McCain, General Manager. “Guests are also encouraged to wear masks, but will have to lower them briefly for the security guard when entering the casino floor for ID verification. We assure you that the health and safety of our guests and team members is our number one priority. We believe that with enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures in place and increased physical distancing measures throughout the property, we can safely get back to some good, clean fun.” 

Another sign of a return to a more normal business environment is the The Grand Lake Queen, Northeast Oklahoma's three-deck paddle wheel excursion boat, is again sailing across Grand Lake 'o the Cherokees.

Sights on the tour include local flora, fauna and all of the natural beauty surrounding the lake. Refreshments and drinks are available for purchase abroad the riverboat. 

According to a recent press release the staff of the Queen are taking great pains to "ensure that the guests are safe" and that guests are able to enjoy the cruises "in a safe, healthy environment." The number of guests will be limited, observance of social distancing will be required and each sailing will be followed by a thorough disinfecting the riverboat.  

“We are so excited to about the return of riverboat cruises to Grove & Grand Lake for the 2020 season,” said Larry Steckline, owner of the riverboat. “These cruises are extremely popular and offer a fun, unique way to experience the beauty of Grand Lake. We are going to great lengths to provide cruises that are both fun and protect the health of our guests and staff. We want our guests to treasure their memories of the Grand Lake Queen and return for many seasons to come.”

The Grand Lake Queen was built and christened the Cherokee Queen II in 1989 and is sister to the Cherokee Queen, who was built in 1944. The Cherokee Queen sank due to an unknown reason in 1964 and was resurrected ten years later. The CQII was a barge that was built into a riverboat on the shores of Honey Creek by Doyle Mathias. 

Now in her second year of sailing under her new name, the riverboat paddles tourists and locals alike around the expanses of Grand Lake.