California Casino Criticized After Promoting Huge NYE Party

For ten months now, the coronavirus has been a major issue in the United States. Businesses have closed and reopened, then closed again. People have lost their jobs and homes due to the inability to work during the pandemic. New regulations and protocols have been issued in each state based on how serious the virus is in a given region. For casinos and other entertainment businesses, crowd capacity is limited along with other measures to ensure the safety of patrons and employees. However, some casinos are not being cautious and a venue in California recently got caught trying to host a huge party for the upcoming New Year’s Eve holiday.

Caught in the Act

An announcement was made on social media by the Graton Resort and Casino located in Rohnert Park in California. The casino was preparing to host a big New Year’s Eve party with around 4,000 guests. However, the announcement backfired as the casino was inundated with criticism by locals as well as health officials.

The casino was ready to host a huge part on New Year’s Eve, accommodating VIPs and platinum-tier rewards members. The party was a private event and would have taken place at a time when the virus is spreading rapidly across the state.

Graton does not have to follow any county or state rules regarding COVID-19 or other matters due to it operating on tribal land. The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria are the owner and operator of the venue. Because of the location and operator, the casino does not have to follow an indoor entertainment ban issued by Governor Gavin Newsom.

The casino has been in operation for months at a reduced capacity. The facility conducts temperature checks at the entry and has barriers in place as well as a mask mandate. When the news of the party came out, health officials quickly began making statements, saying the preference would be that the party would not take place, though they have no jurisdiction on the matter.

Cancelling the Event

Once the backlash started, a conference call was hosted by the Graton representatives. The casino decided to cancel the event, which was being called a possible superspreader by critics. In a Facebook post late last week, the casino made a new announcement on the event.

Graton said the previously scheduled event is cancelled and the casino will close on December 31, 2020 at 5pm and will not reopen until January 1, 2021. The operator apologized for any inconvenience and stated they look forward to seeing patrons again in the New Year.

The casino is located in Sonoma County, where health officials are reporting that one in every 100 people has COVID-19. Not long ago, officials stated that almost 100 cases of the virus tracked back to casinos in the county. The majority were employees of the facilities.

Health officials were glad to hear that the casino made the decision to avoid offering the event. With so many people in attendance, it could have had massive repercussions within the community.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.