Frigid temperatures & ice storms force Oklahoma Cherokee casinos to close again
Frigid temperatures forced Oklahoma Cherokee Casinos and Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Tulsa to suspend operations and close their doors to the public earlier this week as sub-zero temperatures and ice storms paralyzed the entire region.
As severe winter weather continued to clasp the region, the federally-recognized tribe of Oklahoma decided to close its gambling & entertainment facilities until Friday. Massive power outages also created problems for businesses as well as households as more than 100,000 Oklahomans were left without electricity.
Initially, the tribe and other operators had plans to reopen their gambling & entertainment facilities on last Wednesday but a midweek round of severe winter weather and the aforementioned power outages forced the operators to push back closures until Friday.
Chuck Garrett, chief executive of Cherokee Nation Businesses, said they were assessing conditions to ensure the safety as well as well-being of the local communities.
The official website of Hard Rock stated, “Hard Rock Tulsa Closed to Conserve Resources for Area Residents. If the severe weather and utility outages continue, the closures could extend beyond the scheduled date and time. Forecasters are predicting a return next week to seasonal temperatures.”
The operators also confirmed that those employees who would normally report to work during the closures would be paid for their shifts.
More than two dozen people have reportedly lost their lives in the bitter cold weather and ice storms that have been sweeping the region for the past many days. The places that experienced weather watches and warnings are home to more than one hundred million people.
In the area of Northwest Arkansas, close to the border of Oklahoma, residents endured record-breaking chilly temperatures of -19 degrees. Many other parts of the United States tolerated similar or worse climatic conditions. Across the United States, nearly 3.4 million utility customers were forced to live in the dark due to outage on last Wednesday. From Minnesota to Texas, residents experienced massive blackouts lasting more than an hour as power suppliers kept struggling with overwhelming demand.
Previously, in 2020, Oklahoma Cherokee Casinos were forced to suspend their operations and keep their doors closed due to COVID-19 pandemic. Even after resuming operations by May or June, the gaming venues continued to suffer hefty operating losses as their capacities as well as working hours were curtailed to ensure social distancing.
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