Riverwind Casino

A Riverwind Casino patron plays a slot machine. (Kyle Phillips / The Transcript) 

In an effort to ensure safety for patrons and staff, Norman casinos have implemented a multitude of health precautions and measures upon reopening.

Thunderbird Casinos in Norman and Shawnee are open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. They are also performing temperature checks at the door for both patrons and employees upon arrival for their shift.

The table games at the casinos opened up the second weekend in June, according to the casino’s Facebook page. Some of their slot machines have been disabled to practice social distancing.

Both Thunderbird Casino locations have limited their occupancy and once that limit is reached, customers may be asked to wait in line or in their vehicles until they are under their capacity limit, according to a Thunderbird Casino spokeswoman.

The grill at the casinos have limited menu options and seating.

At the restaurant in Riverwind Casino, the grill has limited menu options and seating as well as disposable and digital menus. The bars are for service only and all stools have been removed.

Riverwind Casino is using electrostatic spray application to spray the entire facility upon closing on weekdays. The EPA-approved disinfectant becomes positively charged when sprayed, killing viral microorganisms in under a minute. The frequency of manual disinfection has been increased, with a focus on commonly touched surfaces like countertops and buttons of gaming machines and ATMs.

Prior to returning to work, staff members are required to go through training on wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and operational, cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

“The health and safety of patrons, guests and employees is our number one priority,” said Justin Yahola, general manager at Riverwind Casino.

Yahola said the casino conducted a comprehensive COVID-19 testing and surveillance program for all employees and contractors who work at their facility.

“100% test results were received before our opening on May 27 and we will be performing ongoing random sampling tests every 2 weeks,” Yahola said. “We’ve implemented additional protocols and procedures that mirror those of casinos across the country and our patrons have responded positively since our reopening.”

Riverwind Hotel has suspended valet service and every guest in the hotel is required to wear a mask in the lobby.

The casino’s gift shop has an occupancy restriction, and guests must practice physical distancing, leaving six feet between themselves and people not in their party while in line or shopping. Certain products may have been relocated behind the counters to be accessed by employees to limit the frequency in which items are touched.

Riverwind’s Showplace Theatre will host their first act since reopening, Boys II Men, which was originally scheduled for April 17 on Sept. 6. Other acts rescheduled for the fall through winter of 2021 include Willy Nelson and Family, Jay Leno, Foreigner and Collective Soul.

Jeff Elkins


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