May 26, 2020

San Manuel Casino extends coronavirus closure, implements furloughs and layoffs

San Manuel Casino  announced Thursday, May 21, that the casino’s closure because of the novel coronavirus pandemic will be extended into June and that for the first time in the casino’s 34-year history it will have to implement furloughs and layoffs for some of its employees.

A news release said casino officials will look to local and state health and safety guidance to find a path to reopening and that while the casino could open on a June date, it is too early to tell.

“These business realities have forced the gut-wrenching decision that the Tribe has tried to avoid since the beginning of this pandemic: we have implemented furloughs and lay-offs for the first time in our 34-year history,” the release stated. “Those impacted have been notified and we are supporting them in navigating unemployment insurance, providing outplacement services, and assisting them in exploring opportunities with us in newly created positions including Social Distancing Ambassadors and Safety Concierges.”

In a YouTube video released Wednesday, Ken Ramirez, tribal chair for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, said tribal officials looked at other alternatives before having to lay off some of the casino’s team members and those included organization-wide pay reductions, eliminating nonessential expenses and delaying construction on San Manuel’s casino expansion and other capital projects.

Latisha Casas, treasurer for the San Manuel Band, said in the video that business could be impacted for some time.

“We are going to have to reopen in phases and we believe that demand from customers is going to take some time to come back,” Casas said. “So realistically, we could be over a year from meaningful recovery and in the meantime we’ll be operating a much smaller business.”

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In anticipation of a possible June opening, the casino’s leadership will begin to recall team members to their positions. The release says those team members will have to be certified in the casino’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Training Program before they return to work.

In an email, Public Relations Manager Jenna Brady said it is unclear how many employees will be affected by furloughs and layoffs because casino officials don’t know how many team members will return to work, how many will attend the mandatory coronavirus training and how many will accept other roles within the organization, but said initial conversations concluded the casino would bring back the “the great majority of our workforce.”

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Brady said that for employees who have been laid off, the casino is assisting with unemployment insurance, outplacement and connecting with other hiring organizations. It has established an assistance hotline and it will also work with laid-off workers to see if it can move them into newly created positions.

San Manuel, which closed March 15, has extended its closure as other casinos in the region have begun to reopen.

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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