Northern Quest set to reopen with limited capacity and social distancing measures on May 5

click to enlarge Northern Quest set to reopen with limited capacity and social distancing measures on May 5
Young Kwak
Northern Quest Resort & Casino will re-open May 5, with social-distancing limitation in place.

As Washington's official number of COVID-19 cases begins to dwindle, Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights has announced that it will begin gradual reopening procedures on Tuesday, May 5. The resort and casino will again be open to customers, as will the Kalispel Casino and the Kalispel Golf and Country Club, while the Fatburger restaurant will serve takeout orders.

In a press release Wednesday, the casino assured prospective guests that rigorous social distancing protocols will be implemented. Casino floors will limit hours of operation, closing between 2 am and 10 am every day for deep cleaning. All employees will wear protective masks, and guests are encouraged to do the same (a limited supply will be available at the casino itself). Six-foot markers will be placed in areas where guests typically congregate or queue up.

As far as gambling is concerned, half of the slot machines and table games will be out of commission to encourage social distancing. Machines will be sanitized after each use, and table games such as blackjack and roulette will be limited to two players per dealer (exceptions will be made for two or more people in the same household). Poker, off-track betting and KENO will not be offered for the time being.

Hotel accommodations are reopening, as well, and rooms will be deep cleaned and sanitized, with extra space left between occupied rooms. Elevators taking guests up to rooms will also be monitored to encourage distancing, as will check-in protocols. Valet service will not be immediately restored.

It isn’t clear which of the casino’s restaurants will be serving food, though the casino is currently finalizing those plans and will announce them at a later date.

Northern Quest ceased all operation on March 16, the same day that Gov. Jay Inslee instituted a statewide mandate that shut down bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues. More than 1,800 employees were either laid off or furloughed, per the casino's PR department, and those who are coming back to work are doing so on a voluntary basis.

"To date, federal and state relief funding has only met a fraction of the Tribe's and the Team Members' needs," Northern Quest says via press release. "As one of the largest employers in Spokane and Pend Oreille Counties, we have hundreds of Team Members who want to get back to work and make a living to help support their families."

To see a complete list of Northern Quest's safety regulations, click here.

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About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.