Casino In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Will Reopen Next Week

Written By Matt Schoch on May 1, 2020Last Updated on December 11, 2021
Michigan tribal casinos

Let the gaming resume.

After being closed for more than a month, one Upper Peninsula tribal casino will open Wednesday.

The announcement by Island Resort and Casino in Harris came Friday, one day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the stay-at-home order in Michigan through May 28.

Tribal casinos are not under Whitmer’s jurisdiction because they are on reservation land.

Island Resort and Casino, which is operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, has been closed since March 21 and will have been closed for more than six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility will be the first of the 26 Michigan casinos to reopen since they all closed in March because of the pandemic.

Phased-in approach for reopening casino

As first reported by MLive, Island Resort and Casino made the announcement on its website and on Facebook.

There will be a phased-in approach to the opening, with slot machines, select to-go food service, bars, bingo and retail available on Wednesday.

On May 8, golf courses Sage Run and Sweetgrass will open. The hotel will open on May 13.

According to the announcement, table games and poker will be added later, along with the spa, pool and fitness center at the facility.

Extra precautions will be taken

Upon arrival, guests will be given a temperature check with an infrared thermometer. A customer with a reading over 100.0 degrees will not be admitted.

Masks are encouraged but not required and plexiglass barriers have been placed in the casino to separate guests, the announcement said.

All areas will be sanitized consistently in employee and guest areas and the amount of hand sanitizer dispensers has been increased.

Six feet of social distancing is recommended, and the announcement also asks guests who are not feeling well or are vulnerable to illness to stay home.

There will be no luggage service, valets or shuttles, among other precautions. On the golf course, carts are allowed but rangers will rake the sand traps for you.

COVID-19 cases decreasing in Michigan

Michigan has been one of the hardest-hit states from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reported total death toll was nearing 3,900 on Friday with more than 42,000 positive cases reported.

The 3,866 deaths are the third-most for a state, but Friday’s 977 reported cases was the lowest daily increase since Monday.

Island Resort and Casino is in Menominee County, which has reported five COVID-19 cases and zero deaths as of Friday, according to the state’s website.

No other casinos have announced openings

Island Resort and Casino is one of 23 tribal casinos in Michigan, which serve as important economic engines for the 12 federally recognized tribes.

Eleven of the state’s tribal casinos are in the U.P. The five Kewadin Casino locations are closed through May 15, while others have not announced firm dates.

Lac Vieux Desert Golf Course, which is operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribe, reopened on Friday, but its Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet near the Wisconsin border is still closed.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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