Mystic Lake and Little Six casinos reopened for gaming and dining on Tuesday, May 26.

The casinos planned to use a phased approach to welcome guests for the first time since the venues closed on March 18 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

Guests and staff are required to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and have their temperature taken to check for fevers in order to enter the casinos, according to the release. Community officials said any staff or guests exhibiting signs of illness will be required to leave.

“Our tribe has many enterprises, some of which have reopened already, including The Meadows at Mystic Lake, the Organics Recycling Facility, and the ice rinks at Dakotah! Sport and Fitness,” Mdewakanton Chairman Keith Anderson said in a statement.

“We have learned how to make the proper modifications to ensure safety and will use what we have learned when reopening Mystic Lake and Little Six.”

The casinos reopened with with a new layout, additional safety features and reduced visitor capacities.

Casino staff are removing every other seat at the slot machines and reducing the number of seats at table games and bars by half. All point-of-sale locations will be equipped with plexiglass barriers to separate staff from guests, and dining will be limited to pre-packaged items for now. Mystic Bingo will have a delayed opening date of May 29.

“We are taking a phased approach to this reopening and feel confident that we can welcome guests back to our enterprise and bring team members back to work in an environment that is safe for everyone,” said Angela Heikes, president and CEO of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s Gaming Enterprise.

The coronavirus has spread around the state, causing more than 16,000 known infections and leading to more than 700 deaths as of Monday, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

It can spread through coughing, talking and otherwise being near other people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. Physical distance, face masks and hand-washing can help slow its jump from person to person.

The community said its approach stems from recommendations of its tribal public health department, the CDC, the state and National Indian Gaming Commission.

Reopening means a more intensive cleaning regime for the public areas, slot machines, tables, restrooms and ATMs. According to the SMSC’s plan, casino surfaces will be cleaned multiple times a day, and guests will be able to request additional cleaning of any slot machine.

The adjoining Mystic Lake Hotel and concert venue will reopen more slowly, according to the community. The hotel will reopen in phases beginning June 1 as the demand for rooms returns, but features like the spa and pool will remain closed.

Concerts through the week of June 21 have been canceled or postponed, and the release states that there are no initial plans for large-scale gatherings.

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