Breaking News
More () »

Casinos in western Washington reopen to big crowds

Hundreds waited in line to be screened before entering Emerald Queen Casino.

FIFE, Wash. — What stay-at-home order?

Hundreds lined up for the re-opening of the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife Monday morning.

“People need to get out and have fun,” said Charmaine Brooks-Quinney, who said she waited in line about an hour-and-a-half to get into the casino.

Tribes in Washington state closed their casinos in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But this week, many have started the process of reopening the casinos, which are a major source of revenue and employment for the tribes.

RELATED: Emerald Queen Casino in Fife preparing to reopen Monday with certain safety measures

RELATED: First western Washington casino to reopen greeted with eager crowds

However, visitors will find brand new rules in place to encourage social distancing. Tribes have their own governments and are not required to follow Washington state's emergency rules on crowds and closures, and the tribes have implemented new safety measures at the casinos.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is limiting Emerald Queen's visitors to 30% capacity, all guests and employees are screened with a digital thermometer before coming inside, and guests are expected to wear masks and gloves.

Smoking will be allowed at Emerald Queen, but the Puyallup tribe encouraged visitors to blow smoke toward the machines and wear masks as much as possible.

The Squaxin Island Tribe’s Little Creek Casino and the Nisqually Tribe’s Red Wind Casino also opened in the South Sound Monday morning.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said last week that he wished the tribal governments would delay reopening their casinos, but that he hoped that their extra health precautions will be successful.

Brooks-Quinney said she appreciated the new safety measures.

“You have to stand six feet apart, they have tape around in the inside for where you can’t stand, they’re constantly wiping down machines,” Brooks-Quinney said.


Before You Leave, Check This Out