San Manuel unveils new smoking, alcohol consumption guidelines amid soaring COVID-19 cases in Southern California

San Manuel unveils new smoking, alcohol consumption guidelines amid soaring COVID-19 cases in Southern California

In response to an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 infections in Southern California, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has unveiled new smoking and alcohol consumption guidelines for visitors to its San Bernardino County-based namesake tribal casino.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the operator of the tribal San Manuel Casino, has limited smoking to designated areas outside of the gaming facility, while alcohol service will now onwards be available at slots and table games only. The operator underlined that the changes were necessary to support face mask mandates as well as to minimize the chances for gatherings of multiple persons at bars.

Announcing the changes, the operator said in a statement, “Smoking will be limited to designated areas, which, for now, will be located outside of the casino. Alcohol service will be provided at slots and table games only … the changes are necessary to support facial covering mandates and to minimize opportunities for multiple-person gatherings at bars.”

Admitting that the decision could be problematic for some guests, the operators stressed that the changes were temporary, and would be rolled back once the potentially deadly disease fades away.

Ahead of announcing the changes pertaining to alcohol consumption and smoking, San Manuel, like other gaming facilities, implemented a range of health safety protocols to slowdown the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected millions of people across the globe, leaving thousands of them dead. The health safety protocols include deep sanitization of the entire property and mandatory temperature screenings of team members as well as guests.

The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has also warned that smokers are at higher risk of getting infected by corona virus. There are observational examinations confirming that a link between smoking and severity of the deadly virus. A statistically significant link has been found between smoking status and primary endpoints of admission to ICU and use of ventilator or even death.

The tribal casino made the new changes as many other casinos across the United States are doing the same, and as many employee groups are asking operators to strengthen their defense against the deadly virus. It is worth-mentioning here that the Culinary Union, the union of casino employees, recently dragged operators to court of law, arguing that they were forced to work with ‘dangerously inadequate’ protections and the operators aren’t doing enough to protect their employees, their families and communities against the deadly virus.