Phased reopening begins May 27 at Ho-Chunk casino in Madison with limited access, gaming

MADISON -- Ho-Chunk Nation officials on Tuesday, May 19 announced the first reopening of one of its enterprises. The Ho-Chunk Gaming-Madison casino will reopen -- albeit on a limited basis -- on May 27 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The casino closed to the public on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) "to protect our employees and guests."

In a news release Tuesday, Ho-Chunk Nation President Marlon WhiteEagle said, "The staff at Ho-Chunk Gaming-Madison has implemented and will enforce the utmost health and safety of its guests and employees" -- with a health and safety inspection scheduled for May 20 -- seven days before the reopening.

Ho-Chunk Nation officials noted the reopening will be a "phased-in process" that will initially not include the general public.

On May 27, they'll allow gaming on 400 of 1,300 slot machines, with limited hours. Only Ho-Chunk Gaming-Madison Players Club Wisconsin members will be allowed.

Food and beverage operations will remain closed during this first phase, the release said.

The release noted President WhiteEagle on April 16 issued an administrative order requiring everyone in a Ho-Chunk Nation property to wear a face covering over their noses and mouths and when unable to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet.

When Ho-Chunk Gaming reopens, everyone who enters must have their temperatures checked.

The release said other safety measures will include plexiglass installed in areas where transactions occur, hand sanitizer being made available throughout the facility -- and required frequent handwashing by staff, along with signage aimed at preventing the spread.

Officials with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee on Thursday, May 14 announced they would remain closed after the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked the state's "Safer at Home" order -- essentially reopening the state. "The PHC team is actively working on ways to create a safe environment for our team members and guests," Potawatomi officials wrote on their Facebook page.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino also shut down on St. Patrick's Day.