Tentative date set for reopening of Choctaw casinos

Staff file photo

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma announced Tuesday a tentative date to re-open casinos and resorts.

All Choctaw Casinos in Durant, Grant, Pocola, McAlester, Broken Bow, Idabel and Stringtown, along with all Choctaw Casino Toos, were closed March 17 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

The announcement came via social media.

“We are happy to announce that our target date for reopening all Choctaw Casino operations is June 1, 2020!” the announcement said.

According to the announcement, a comprehensive health and safety plan is being developed to prepare for re-opening “and to ensure the health and safety of all guests and associates.”

Operations and amenities will be limited at first, according to the tribe.

According to Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton, associates of the tribe will begin to be recalled to work sites starting May 15 through June 13.

Through the June 13 recall, Batton said associates with reduced schedules will be paid a combination of regular pay and COVID-19 administrative pay.

Earlier this month, the tribe released it’s phased approach to reopen that will be guided by two key health indicators — hospital bed utilization and intensive care unit bed utilization by COVID-19 patients as a percentage of total bed capacity for Oklahoma and key markets in Texas and Arkansas.

Phase I will begin May 15 with the Choctaw Nation Hospital in Talihina and medical clinics opening to limited services. Wellness centers will also begin to open with limited capacity.

The tribe’s Chili’s restaurants in Atoka and Poteau will also open with limited capacity and will follow local public health guidelines.

Childcare centers will also begin to open to meet demand.

Batton said phases II and III would be entered following a review of the key health indicators.

If the indicators show a threat to the healthcare system of the tribe, Oklahoma, or the key markets in Texas and Arkansas, the tribe will halt or slow down the phased progression, according to Batton.


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