BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — All of the employees at Firekeepers Casino and Hotel walked around the kitchen, dining room, main floor, hallways and elsewhere in the building with face masks on.
And, after they reopen on Monday they’ll be keeping them on for the foreseeable future.
“We’re excited to have the public come and join us on Monday June 1 at 11 a.m,” CEO Kathy George said during an interview with FOX 17. “The next few days that the team is starting to come in and we’re getting ready to make sure all of the safety protocols and all the recommendations by the Center for Disease Control are going to be up and ready.”
In addition to wearing masks, other changes were implemented like temperature checks. All employees and guests will have to have their temperatures taken at their foreheads before entering the building.
“A lot of the things you see across the floor of the changes we’ve made include spreading out the machines, removing chairs, removing games so every other machine will be working, as well as limiting the table-game seating,” George said. “So we really are making sure that everyone is spread out.”
They also eliminated smoking from the casino floor, she said. Smokers will have to go outside.
Soaring Eagle in Mt. Pleasant did the same thing and implemented some changes as well.
“We have erected plexiglass barriers in high interaction areas such as in our players clubs and in our cages,” said CEO Mike Bean during a Zoom interview. “We have social distancing markers where lines would typically form. We stepped up cleaning efforts. We’ll obviously have more people cleaning high-touch areas in particular.”
Bean said that this was a ‘phased approach’ at Soaring Eagle. He said they plan to reopen on June 1 too however everything won't be available. Their valet service won’t be operational. The coat check will be closed. And, there will be no buffet.
“These are very difficult decisions not only for us but for casinos and businesses in general across the country where there’s a need to balance the economic impact and the need to get back to business, doing it in a responsible manner,” Bean said. “That’s the balance we’re doing our best to strike.”
When Firekeepers opens, they’ll only be operating at 65 percent said another official at the casino.
However, they’re ready to have people in the building for the first time since March 16. George said that day at 3 a.m. is when she had to furlough most of her employees.
“It was difficult for the entire team,” George recalled. “We have 1,800 dedicated team members. Everyday we get up to serve. They loved interacting with their guests, many who’ve really become extended family. And I think it was hard.”
The staff fortunately came back this week, learning how to operate under CDC rules while wearing masks.
She said they’ll be ready to go by June 1.
“We’re looking forward to everyone coming out to Firekeepers Casino and Hotel to get their Vegas on and do so safely,” George said repeating their slogan. “Everyone be patient with each other and I know people will come out and have a great time.”
***Note: Gun Lake casino will reopen on June 8***