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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Fortune Bay prepares for soft opening

Not all amenities will be fully operational

Posted 5/20/20

TOWER—Officials with Fortune Bay Resort Casino have announced they plan to resume operations on Monday, June 1.“We thought long and hard about this, but felt we are 100-percent ready to …

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Fortune Bay prepares for soft opening

Not all amenities will be fully operational

Posted

TOWER—Officials with Fortune Bay Resort Casino have announced they plan to resume operations on Monday, June 1.
“We thought long and hard about this, but felt we are 100-percent ready to safely reopen our doors,” said Fortune Bay’s General Manager Jenna Lehti. The facility, which closed March 18 due to the coronavirus pandemic, is among the region’s largest employers.
While the doors will soon reopen, it won’t be business as usual at Fortune Bay, which has traditionally operated around the clock, seven days a week. At least for now, the hours will be 9 a.m. until 1 a.m., seven days a week for the casino. The Gold Mine Grill will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The North Star Bar will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. 
The Sunset Steakhouse and Tamarack Buffet will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The gift shop will have reduced hours as will the pool area, which includes a hot tub, sauna, and small workout center. Due to social distancing, all weddings and larger conferences have been shelved for the time being.
There’s another big change as well. “We will be entirely smoke-free throughout our property as directed by our tribal council,” said Lehti, who added there will be designated areas outside for those who smoke. “This is one measure we all firmly believed in to do our part to keep our guests safe.”
The smoke-free move was one of many steps taken to improve health and safety. Every guest and employee will have their temperature taken at a station located on the service road leading into the property. If a guest or employee has a temperature of 100 or higher, they will not be allowed on the property. This same policy applies to guests who arrive by boat and plan to spend time on the property. 
All employees will also be required to wear face masks, and guests will be asked to wear one, too. If a guest does not have a mask, they can purchase one for a dollar. While it will not be mandatory for a guest to wear a mask, it is Lehti’s hope that they will do so.
Fortune Bay’s graphics department has been printing signs reminding guests to practice safe social distancing, use hand sanitizer stations, and more.
The resort’s janitorial and housekeeping teams will be busy cleaning the public areas and resort rooms to keep guests and employees safe.
“Ever since we first closed our doors in March, our team has worked extremely hard to deep clean our entire facility and we’ll continue to do that once we re-open,” said Lehti. “We will be diligent in making regular rounds to wipe down all surfaces and have hand sanitizers and wipes readily available for our guests and employees to use.”
Lehti said Fortune Bay’s human resources team is reaching out to employees to make sure they are ready to come back to work. She said they will be asked to fill out a survey and provide any suggestions on how to better improve safety measures that will be in place.
In the meantime, Lehti and the Fortune Bay team are eagerly awaiting the June 1 opening.
“We miss our guests and longtime customers who we’ve come to know by first name,” said Lehti, who took over in February as general manager. “We have talked to a lot of them and they feel confident that we’ve taken the right steps to ensure they’ll be safe once we reopen.”
Bois Forte Tribal Chairwoman Cathy Chavers echoed those comments.
“It is reassuring to know how much time Jenna and her management team put in to come up with a safe and viable plan to reopen our doors,” said Chavers. “They all care deeply about our guests and employees and I think you’ll see that kindheartedness on display June 1.”

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