While many other cities around the world opted to cancel grand New Year’s Eve celebrations and countdowns, some tribal casinos in California have no plans to back down.

Thousands of revelers and gamblers are expected to attend the invitation-only event at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln and Cache Creek Casino Resort. The events, said to be private and closed for general public, will see at least 6000 guests.

“Cache Creek Casino Resort will become a private venue starting at 12:00 p.m. on December 31, 2020,” the casino says on its website. “We will reopen to the public at 6:00 a.m. on January 1, 2021.”

And at least one Northern California tribal casino — Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park — scrapped plans for a 4000-person VIP party following media scrutiny and pressure form country officials.

Thunder Valley insisted that the 6000 expected attendees is only 20 percent of the typical attendance on their NYE parties. They said the invite-only party is safe and is within the state guidelines.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Thunder Valley is closing to the general public on New Year’s Eve and limiting the number of guests that will have access to the casino to 6,000, which is less than 20% of attendance on a typical NYE at Thunder Valley,” spokesman Doug Elmets said in a statement.

Elmets added that the 6000 guests will be spread out over 835,000 square feet, which will “allow more than ample opportunity for social distancing among guests.”

Aside from masks, acrylic barriers will be in place between guets and reduced seating capacities will be implemented property wide, the hotel spokesman said.

While restaurants in California are relatively closed for dine-in guests, casinos have continued operating despite potentially being high-risk environments for the spread of the coronavirus.

Though masks are mandated upon entry, people in casinos go for drinking and smoking, which obviously means people inside are not wearing their masks through their stay.

Casinos located on tribal lands are not obligated to follow state or country coronavirus rules. Thus, Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders banning indoor entertainment doesn’t apply to the state’s dozens of tribal casinos.

According to a report from Sacramento Bee, the varying approaches of New Year’s eve parties in California come as the state is burdened with the availability of intensive care unit beds.

As of December 31 (Vietnam time), California has already recorded 2.25 million coronavirus infections, and nearly 30,000 deaths. The US, as a whole, has 19.7 million infections.

The state has also identified a case of the new coronavirus strain, which is considered more contagious. The case in California is the second patient to have the new variant in the US, after a case was detected in Colorado earlier this week.


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