ilani announced Tuesday that it intends to remain open during the renewed round of COVID-19 restrictions that Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday in response to a spike in novel coronavirus cases.
Tribal casinos enjoy sovereign rights and are not bound by state business restrictions, although ilani and many other Washington casinos did voluntarily close during Washington’s initial stay-at-home order in March. Most, including ilani, reopened in May.
This time around, ilani issued a press release stating that the casino is an essential tribal operation because it provides revenue to fund the Cowlitz Tribe’s health and human services programs. In a statement, ilani president and general manager Kara Fox-LaRose stated that the casino’s health and safety protocols had proven effective in avoiding significant outbreaks.
ilani canceled a Wednesday press conference intended to mark the opening of its new parking garage, although the casino issued a statement saying that the garage would still open “on time and on budget.”