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Cherokee Nation extends suspension of casinos

Cherokee Nation has decided to extend the suspension of its business operations, including casinos, until May 1.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — On Thursday (April 9), Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced that Cherokee Nation would be extending the suspension of its business operations, including all 10 of its casinos, cultural museum and retail operations through May 1. 

During this time, all regular full-time and part-time employees will continue to receive full pay and benefits.

“We are working closely with local, state and federal officials, alongside tribal health experts and business leaders, to make the best decisions we can during these uncertain times,” Hoskin said. “Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our employees, and so far no employee has had to use sick or vacation time during this closure. We will continue to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and will announce further plans as we approach May 1.”

On Tuesday, March 10, Cherokee Nation began a proactive response to the COVID-19 health crisis, including postponing community events. 

On Monday, March 16, Hoskin signed a proclamation declaring a state of emergency within the Cherokee Nation and operations were suspended at tribally owned casinos and hotels, museums and retail operations.

RELATED: Choctaw Casinos & Resorts suspend operations

RELATED: Cherokee Nation suspends casino, hotel operations

The tribe has also worked to support vulnerable citizens, distributing more than 2,500 food packages to elderly and disabled Cherokees. 

Volunteers cleared the shelves of the casino pantries and utilized emergency funds of more than $350,000 to help prevent food insecurities.

The Cherokee Elder Food Hotline can be reached by calling 918-316-1670. Callers should be sure to have elders' names, phone numbers and addresses when calling.