The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe owns two casinos in Michigan. The popular Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, and its lesser-known Saganing Eagles Landing Casino and Hotel near Standish alongside Saginaw Bay in Standish. As of this morning, they are prohibiting guests from wearing several types of virus-related face masks or coverings. Prohibited now, are masks with ventilation valves, bandanas, and necgaiters. The Tribe is releasing a statement indicating the Centers for Disease Control is finding those types of virus protections rank low when it comes to actual virus safety. The CDC recently updated its mask information and specifically recommends against any type of face covering that uses a breathing valve. The CDC information reads: “The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others.  This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others.” The CDC does not specifically say neck gaiters are ineffective but does say their effectiveness against the spread of COVID-19 is unknown at this time.

Firekeepers Casino here in Battle Creek has not shifted to that sort of specific mask requirement but does absolutely require all guests to wear face coverings. People who may be exempt for any reason are told to wait until the requirement is lifted before visiting Firekeepers. Both Soaring Eagle and Saganing Casinos were closed voluntarily by the tribe at the outbreak of the virus in mid-March. They recently reopened with new virus protections. Some of those include temperature checks with infrared cameras at primary entrances. No-contact thermometers are in place at secondary entrances. The casinos also use plexiglass partitions in some areas where lots of people congregate. They are also replacing playing cards more frequently than before the outbreak, and gaming chips are reused, but regularly sanitized.

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