ilani will reopen for business at noon May 28. The casino’s leaders announced the news Monday evening.
The casino and entertainment venue announced March 16 that it would close its doors for the remainder of the month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure was later extended, and ilani president and general manager Kara Fox-LaRose said the casino would base its operations on guidance from Gov. Jay Inslee.
In a Monday press release, ilani stated that it would resume operations with enhanced safety protocols in place, including reduced and distanced seating at all restaurants, guest temperature checks at the entrances, face masks for team members and frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces.
Some game machines will be shut down in order to encourage greater physical distance between patrons, and Plexiglas barriers will be installed at key locations, including the table games.
“We are optimistic that we can help the community maintain its momentum flattening the curve, while implementing enhanced health protocols that safely allow our employees and guests to reconnect with all that ilani has to offer,” Fox-LaRose said in a statement.
The reopening will be preceded by a special blessing and a smudging ceremony at 10 a.m., led by tribal Chairman Bill Iyall and featuring a ribbon cutting event. Guests will be led into ilani to the sound of drummers from the Cowlitz Drum Group, according to the press release.
“In Native American cultures, a smudging ceremony is an opportunity to purify ourselves and our surroundings,” Iyall explained in a statement. “It is a powerful ritual and holds great significance as we move to resume gathering all walks of life through ilani’s doors, but within new constraints established for the well-being of all.”
ilani opened in 2017 and was developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan, a partnership which includes the Mohegan Sun casino. Fox-LaRose stressed the importance of the casino to the Cowlitz Tribe in Monday’s announcement.
“Since its opening, ilani has grown into an essential business for the Cowlitz Tribe, generating vital funds for basic government services such as health care, education, elder programs, infrastructure and human services,” she said. “The casino revenue also funds services needed to address COVID-19 effects and has an impact on our surrounding Ridgefield community.”