Hon-Dah temporarily suspends operations

Following two employees testing positive for COVID-19, the White Mountain Apache Tribe suspended gaming operations on Oct. 18 followed by a closing of the hotel after the Oct.19 check-out time. Employees are self-quaranting.

WHITERIVER — In a late night press release on Oct. 18 the White Mountain Apache Tribe announced that due to two employees testing positive for COVID-19, gaming operations at Hon-Dah-Casino have been temporarily suspended as of 10 p.m. Following check out time on Oct. 19, the hotel closed.

The suspension of business comes as a result of the two COVID-19 cases which create a staffing shortage due to other employees entering mandatory self-quarantine.

According to the press release, all Casino employees have undergone testing either earlier in the week or will soon do so.

The White Mountain Tribe’s public health protocols require that employees exposed to known positive cases of COVID-19 must self-quarantine for fourteen days regardless of testing results. This is also the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control to prevent further spreading of the virus.

Hon-Dah Casino General Manager Brent Kurth stated in the press release, “We are acting swiftly to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our employees and our customers. At Hon-Dah, we put our people and our community’s needs first.”

Though no customer or guest cases have been identified, one of the staff members who tested positive was in contact with employees who serve the public.

Hon-Dah Casino management does anticipate resuming normal business operations once public health officials and management believe it is safe to do so for employees and guests.

Reach the reporter at bbruce@wmicentral.com

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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