From left, Fort Hall Business Council secretary Lee Juan Tyler, Wendy Dixey, Interim Chief Executive
Officer Colista Eagle and FHBC Vice Chairman Kevin Callahan.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel reopened May 18 with a prayer Fort Hall Business Council secretary Lee Juan Tyler gave in the Shoshone language to bless all who were present — the employees and their families prior to the site opening to Shoshone-Bannock tribal members and invited guests.
He asked for Creator to also bless Mother Earth, all the ecosystem natural resources, etc. “Protect us, take this COVID-19 disease away, make it disappear. From the prayers from the old ones, add them prayers, add all the humble prayers said from the old ones – our ancestors, etc.” He asked Creator to bless all who lost loved ones, bless the water we will drink, protect the gaming place – protect its employees, bless our elders, our foods and bless our future as well.
Interim Chief Executive Officer Colista Eagle said it was slow Monday but it got all of the staff acclimated, “To see what was going on and it was well worth it.”
On Tuesday, May 19 it opened to the public and they were at capacity for patrons allowed inside the casino but she said their wait line wasn’t that long. However, she said they’re going to have to make adjustments because of the weather on how they have people line up. It’s so new they have to meet and have conversations with staff to make recommendations, “We’re playing it by ear to keep everybody safe.”
Eagle said they will be making changes daily. The head count of 200 people was met throughout the day and at times 150. They realize the wait line may be longer towards the weekend and they may utilize the Event Center space to accommodate people. Currently patrons can only enter the hotel front entrance and they must have masks and security is reminding people have their masks on when they exit their vehicles.
She said the patrons are cooperative. Social distancing markers are throughout the hotel lobby and casino areas. There is no self-service for drinks so patrons are being served soda, water or coffee on the floor. There is no food allowed on the casino floor either.
Security is checking temperatures prior to entering the parking lot and staff are also check temperatures at the hotel entrance. Currently the Camas Grill is serving take-out orders only.
There is no smoking on the casino floor and the only designated smoking area is inside the bingo hall.