Augustine Casino in Coachella Reopens

Taylor Martinez

COACHELLA (CNS) – Augustine Casino in Coachella reopened Monday with several modifications after being closed for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All guests will have their temperatures checked before entering, and anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees and “displaying additional COVID-19 symptoms” will not be allowed to enter, the casino announced Friday.

All guests and employees must cover their faces while inside the casino. Table games have been removed from the casino floor and replaced with additional slot machines.

Smoking in the casino was permitted before it closed in March but is now prohibited. Valet services have been eliminated.

The casino reopened at 9 a.m. Monday, and will regularly be open from 8 a.m.-midnight. The hours are subject to change, casino general manager Jef Bauer said.

Guests can eat at Menyikish Bar & Grill, but the buffet remains closed.

The reopening of the casino owned by the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians and located on tribal land comes after 75 employees were laid off in April, and 210 others furloughed in response to the casino losing millions of dollars in revenue since closing on March 15.

The move effected about 93% of the casino’s total workforce, Bauer previously told City News Service.

It was not immediately clear how much of the casino’s workforce would return when it reopens.

Bauer previously said the casino’s total losses could top “tens of millions of dollars” by the end of the year, a dreary forecast that spurred casino officials to begin digging for cost savings including cutting payroll.

“And it’s not going to be something we can recover in the first 10 months of being open,” he said at the time. “It will take years to recover the amount of money lost.”

Augustine Casino opened in 2002 as the tribe’s first business enterprise. It has more than 700 slot machines.

More than a half-dozen casinos have reopened in and around the Coachella Valley since late May.

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