The Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington reopened at 50% capacity Wednesday afternoon. It's the first casino to reopen in western Washington since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The Stillaguamish Tribe, a sovereign nation, runs the casino. That means the casino isn't bound by Washington's statewide stay-home orders.
"We believe its time. We believe we have enough safety protocols in place like other places that have not shut down,” said Travis O’Neil, General Manager of the casino.
Management displayed new safety measures last week, which includes no smoking. Guests’ temperatures will be taken at the door, face coverings are required, and only slot machines will be open.
“If people are concerned and do not like the decision, I would encourage them to stay away at this point," O'Neil continued.
But when the casino reopened Wednesday, the line of cars stretched for miles.
Dee Hershcher drove 90 minutes to visit.
“See you can’t get in there unless you have a mask, that will make you feel better, everybody will have one,” Herscher said.
But just two hours after reopening, the parking lot was packed, and tribal police were asking drivers to turn around.
Marc Buol drove from Federal Way to the Arlington casino.
“We heard this is the only place open, so we decided to come up here and it’s busy! We don’t know if we’re going to get in now,” Buol said “We’re just kind of going stir crazy locked up at home, we just thought we wanted to get out and try our luck today.”