Smoke-filled casinos could soon be a pre-pandemic relic.
Ilani, the tribal casino located closest to Portland, on July 11 banned smoking in the casino until further notice, citing COVID-19. The move follows the implementation of other safety provisions, like mandatory masks.
The casino, 30 miles north of Portland in Ridgefield, Wash., has had two workers sickened by COVID-19 since it reopened in May.
"It's the right time, and it's the right thing to do for our team members, our guests, the Cowlitz Tribe and our entire community," Cowlitz Tribe chairman William Iyall stated in a press release. "The health of our members, and indeed that of everyone who is a guest of our homeland, is our first concern."
When the casino welcomed back guests in late May following a 70-day closure during the coronavirus-mandated lockdowns, it created an outdoor smoking shelter that includes beverage service and lawn games. That designated space will remain open for people looking to light up.
Casinos have been one of the region's last smoke-filled enclaves, but Ilani is just the latest to end that tradition. When Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City resumed operations in mid-May, it immediately snuffed out cigarettes throughout the entire property, both inside and out.