Owners of Towers Casino and Card Room on Bank Street in Grass Valley have apparently had enough of the COVID-19 stay at home issued by Governor Gavin Newsom. On their website they announced that "we are open for business." That announcement is seemingly in defiance of the governor's four-part plan for restarting nonessential businesses, since casinos and card rooms are not allowed to reopen until the third stage, according to the state. Currently we are only in the second stage of the plan.
Some casinos owned and operated by the Indian tribes in California are also ready to open their doors despite concerns expressed by Newsom, but those gambling halls are located on sovereign tribal land and exempt from his orders. Towers in Nevada County, however, is not owned by a tribe and is actually licensed by the California Gambling Control Commission. They must also answer to the Department of Justice's Bureau of Gambling Control.
"We understand some of you might not be ready to return yet for many reasons," they say on their website. "(We) respect your choice to continue to shelter in place. Please respect our choice to re-open with stringent safety procedure in place. Collectively, we feel the time is right to take a step towards normalcy."
The website also lists a variety of steps they say are intended to protect the health of customers:
- Rigorous disinfecting, prior to opening, between games and each day upon closing
- Training of our staff on new mandated cleaning protocols
- Player reservations to limit the number of people waiting for a seat
- Stringent sanitizing of chips/cards before and after usage
They claim they will follow health and safety protocols, like limiting the number players allowed inside, enforcing social distancing, equipping staff members with face masks or shields and requiring customers to also wear them, not allowing people to sit together in common spaces, and not serving food to group or providing self-serve coffee.
Pictures posted on social media do show card players wearing masks, but they are clearly sitting very close to one another at the card table.
Towers remained open for a second day on Tuesday, and it is unclear if state or Nevada County authorities are planning to take any action against the casino owners.