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Gun Lake Casino not required to follow state orders, remains open

Gun Lake Casino
Posted at 3:54 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 16:57:27-05

WAYLAND, Mich. — The new emergency order that went into effect on Wednesday does include closing casinos, but a few in west Michigan are still operating.

Gun Lake Casino is located on a federal reservation, and the Gun Lake Tribe is not required to follow orders put in place by the state, only the federal government.

Therefore, the casino said after evaluating their safety measures, they feel it is safe to remain open.

"Back in March, we were the first tribal casino in the area, if not the country to voluntarily close our doors understanding the severity of this," said Gun Lake Casino's Assistant General Manager Carter Pavey.

Gun Lake Casino in Wayland is located on Sovereign Land, which means they're only subject to federal orders.

Despite the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders, they remained open as of Wednesday. The casino's assistant general manager said they will evaluate their safety measures on a weekly basis.

The new emergency order that went into effect on Wednesday does include closing casinos, but a few in west Michigan are still operating.

Upon entering the casino all guests are screened through a thermal imaging system to read their core temperature.

Guests are also required to wear masks at all times.

The casino has also made hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes available to guests in addition to cleaning practices already in place.

"We have, like I said, team members that go around that do nothing but clean and sanitize with chemicals that are designed to specifically help eliminate COVID on contact surfaces," said Pavey.

While the casino may not have made the decision to close down, they said they are following some parts of the order. On Friday, they will close all dine-in services.

The casino will also close down card tables, except in the high limit room where they can limit the amount of people.

"As we continue to evaluate, we still take this very seriously. I think we have one of the more advanced ‘Play It Safe Initiatives’, everyone calls it something a little different. We have one of the most advanced programs in place. We are very strict on those programs," said Pavey.

Two other tribal casinos, Firekeepers in Battle Creek and Soaring Eagle in Mount Pleasant have also made the decision to keep their doors open with safety measures in place as well.