Tribal Casinos In Coachella Valley Are Reopening — Is This Bad News for Coachella the Music Festival?

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Photo Credit: Kay

A number of Coachella Valley’s tribal casinos are reopening, despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s requesting that they remain closed to further curb COVID-19’s spread. Now, some fans are speculating that the casinos’ decision could affect Coachella 2020, which is tentatively slated to take place in October.

Spotlight 29, Morongo, and Tortoise Rock are leading the reopening charge among Coachella Valley’s tribal casinos, which, as sovereign entities, aren’t subject to California’s statewide reopening and distancing guidelines.

Nevertheless, the establishments, along with the several others that will welcome gamblers back next week, plan to administer far-reaching preventative measures, including pre-entry temperature checks and capacity limitations. They’ll also be making masks mandatory for employees and gamblers.

The possible impact on Coachella 2020 is multifaceted.

First, there’s undoubtedly a risk that those who travel to the tribal casinos will introduce additional COVID-19 infections into the local population, even considering the comprehensive safety measures taken by the establishments themselves.

On the other side of the coin, there’s also a chance that some of these individuals will become infected with COVID-19 and spread it upon returning home. This possibility would perhaps have the most material impact on Coachella 2020, given that so many fans would be traveling to attend the multi-day festival.

Further, Governor Newsom previously mentioned that he was considering implementing a statewide live-event ban through 2020’s end; the expected influx of travel to the Coachella Valley—and the possible uptick in COVID-19 cases—may impact his decision.

Yesterday, health professionals began offering free COVID-19 antibody tests to Coachella Valley residents. To date, 1,036 Coachella Valley residents have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, and 45 Valley locals have perished as a result of the disease’s complications.

About a week ago, we took an in-depth look at Coachella 2020’s prospects for taking place as planned, with the first weekend scheduled to initiate on October 9th. And shortly before that, a panel of appeals-court judges overturned the previous dismissal of the anti-competitive “radius clause” lawsuit against Coachella’s organizers.