Casino reopening: SoCal's Morongo Casino reopens, prompting massive lines after monthslong closure due to COVID pandemic

A long, winding line resulted in the formation of a large crowd outside the casino doors as guests waited to get inside, where they found several changes.
CABAZON, Calif. -- Nine weeks after it was shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, Riverside County's Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa reopened Friday, drawing in guests who were were eager to enjoy the casino again.

Visitors formed a long line leading out casino doors as they waited to get inside, where they found several changes. Visitors like Becky Adler drove in from Santa Clarita the night before just to get out of the house after two months stuck inside.

"I got my mask. I've got my hand sanitizer. I'm okay, I'm not scared. I think it is going to be okay," Adler said.

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The casino is an economic powerhouse for the greater Riverside County region, generating an estimated $3 billion dollars annually. In order to reopen, the casino put in place several safety measures to ensure the safety of its staff and guests.

"When you come in, the experience it going to be a little bit different. So, when the guest first arrives we are requiring masks. Above and beyond that when guests enter they will be subject to temperature checks. We want to make sure everyone is symptom free when they come in," said Simon Farmer, marketing director for the casino.

Once inside, guests were met with the casino's latest additions: plexiglass dividers between slot machines and playing tables, along with a recently expanded 65,000 square-foot gaming floor. Limited seating and markings on the floor helped visitors maintain their physical distance from others.

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But while much of the casino is reopen for business, the buffets, concerts and pools will take a little longer to be re-introduced.

A handful of other casinos across the region also said they would reopen, including Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella and Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms.

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