SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Four Winds Casino officials in South Bend have set a target date of reopening their gambling floor tentatively for June 15th. They are still working on a date for their other casinos in Michigan.
The target date of June 15th will still need federal approval that the casino is taking all the necessary extra precautions to keep the public safe during the pandemic.
Those precautions include, but are not limited to, extra cleaning and sanitation measures, as well as handing out face masks to gamblers.
Currently, Four Winds has no date on when they will open the poker tables.
While the news has been well received by casino guests, the St. Joseph County Health Department is less excited.
"When casinos re-open, when movie theaters re-open, I don't want to pick on casinos," said Dr. Mark Fox, St. Joseph County Health Department Health Officer. "When movie theaters re-open, when gyms re-open, there will be people who contract coronavirus in those environments. I accept that as a given, and people who patronize those establishments need to accept that as well and need to think about what that risk means for them."
And while Dr. Fox has his reservations about attending, others in Michiana are welcoming the step toward normalcy.
"More excited than anything for everything to open back up, to get people back to normal lifestyles more than anything," said David Schieber, a former Four Winds guest.
"I do think that it's a little bit risky. I know there's a lot of surfaces in there, a lot of machines to keep clean, the chips, a lot of touchpoints. So, it makes me a little bit nervous, but everybody will use their own judgement and do their own thing," said Alison Herschede, another previous Four Winds guest.
The Pokagon Gaming Authority released a statement regarding the opening, as well as announcing the target date of June 15th.
"The Pokagon Gaming Authority would like to thank everyone for their patience and continued support during the closure of our Four Winds Casinos. We are working on our plans for reopening with the Pokagon Gaming Commission and great care is being taken to ensure that we resume our operations in a manner that will not only protect the health and safety of our guests and employees, but also provide an enjoyable entertainment experience. We look forward to announcing these details, along with an opening date, very soon," said the Pokagon Gaming Authority.