Pearl River Resort to reopen 1 Mississippi casino Friday

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Dusk envelopes the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ trademark globe atop the Golden Moon Casino and Hotel, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Philadelphia, Miss. The seriousness of COVID-19 and its effect on the tribe, are highlighted by the continued closure of the gaming venues, their hotels and the widely attended water park in Philadelphia. Around 1,000 people tribal members have tested positive for the virus, including the tribal chief. More than 70 have died. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

CHOCTAW, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is planning a phased reopening of its Pearl River Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The tribe said its Bok Homa Casino in Sandersville is opening its doors Friday.

Golden Moon Hotel & Casino in Neshoba County will open a week later, on Aug. 14. Reopening has not been set for Silver Star Casino, which is across a highway from Golden Moon and is connected by a pedestrian bridge.

The Choctaw casinos have been closed for more than four months because of the pandemic. Mississippi’s state-regulated casinos along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River closed about two months, and many reopened in late May.

“We are excited to welcome our guests back and look forward to safely providing them with outstanding service and a comfortable gaming experience,” William Johnson, president and CEO of Pearl River Resort, said in a statement.

Johnson said guests will be asked to follow social distancing protocols. Before entering the property, each person’s temperature will be scanned. In addition, each guest and employee will be required to wear a face covering or mask.

Johnson said the casinos will use machines to disinfect gaming chips at table games. During designated times, sections of each casino will be closed for cleaning.

The Choctaw-owned Geyser Falls Water Theme Park in Neshoba County will remain closed the rest of this summer. People who bought 2020 season passes can use those in 2021, according to a Pearl River Resort news release.

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