All Chickasaw Nation-owned businesses including WinStar World Casino and Border Casino that are already closed to limit the spread of COVID-19 will stay closed through May 29, Chickasaw Gov. Bill Anoatubby announced early Tuesday evening, May 12.
“We are extending these closures as part of our continuing efforts to protect the health and safety of our employees and guests,” Anoatubby said in a press release. “Many of our employees will continue working from home and we will continue to compensate employees whose positions are inactive as a result of the pandemic.”
He added a reopening date has not been decided, but “when we begin reopening, we plan to implement extensive employee testing and contact tracing to help contain any resurgence of the virus.”
The casinos and many of WinStar’s associated businesses closed down at midnight March 16 as a precaution. The casinos, retail stores and casino restaurants were closed in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Numerous concerts originally schedule through July have been rescheduled or canceled, a FAQ on Winstar’s website shows.
When many WinStar businesses closed March 16, the WinStar World Casino Hotel remained open, the Register previously reported, as did Fun Town RV Park.
Employees who were not continuing to work were to be paid during the closure. A statement on Winstar's website showed employees were still being paid and receiving benefits as of Tuesday, May 12.
WinStar Golf Course and the casino’s golf academy and pro shop, as well as The Inn at WinStar, are closed, a listing of cancellations and closures posted to chickasaw.net shows. Legends Bar and Grill also closed, Winstar’s website indicates.
The Chickasaw Nation operates both Border Casino and WinStar World Casino and Resort near Thackerville, Oklahoma, just north of Gainesville. With about 600,000 square feet of gaming area, WinStar ranks among the largest casinos in the world, according to several roundups listing large casinos by square footage. It seats 3,500 in its Global Event Center.
More than 3,700 people are employed at the casino and in its hospitality and restaurant arms, according to a 2018 fact sheet posted on the casino’s website. More than 2,300 of those employees hail from Texas.