Two patrons sit divided by Plexiglas at a table while playing Spanish 21 at ilani casino in Ridgefield Thursday afternoon. The Cowlitz Tribe’s ilani casino resort opened for the first time Thursday since it closed March 16 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. COWLITZ INDIAN RESERVATION — The Cowlitz Indian tribe’s ilani casino reopened its doors Thursday following a 70-day closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The move jumps the casino resort ahead of the reopening timetable for the rest of Clark County, but ilani’s leaders expressed confidence a set of new health protocols would allow operations to resume safely.
Cowlitz Tribal chairman Bill Iyall, spiritual leader Tanna Engdahl and ilani president and general manager Kara Fox-LaRose led a welcoming and ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the casino’s main entrance Thursday morning. An initial crowd of about 200 guests began to fill out a queue space that had been preconfigured with guardrails and markings to maintain 6-foot separation distances. People wear masks as they start to line up for the reopening at ilani Casino Resort on Thursday morning. “We are pleased now to reopen ilani so it can keep providing support for our tribe and our community,” Iyall said of the Ridgefield-area gaming resort.
Fox-LaRose discussed a wide range of health safety measures implemented during the closure, including mandatory masks for all staff and customers and enforced social distancing on the gaming floor. Casino staff will provide masks for customers who don’t bring their own. Cowlitz Tribal Chair Bill Iyall wears a protective […]