Eight Michigan Casinos Are Now Again Requiring Masks. Will Others Follow?

Written By Matt Schoch on August 13, 2021 - Last Updated on September 13, 2021

Eight Michigan tribal casinos have now brought the mask mandate back for all guests.

And a glance nationwide suggests that Little River Casino in Manistee and Gun Lake Casino in Wayland were likely just among the first of many.

With the delta variant of COVID-19 upending portions of everyday American life once again, Michigan casinos are feeling some of the impact.

The news of the updated mask mandates originally came in August just a few days after Detroit’s casinos reported July as its best revenue month since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close in March 2020.

Every Michigan casino had a mask mandate upon re-opening after the pandemic shutdown. However, just Little River and Gun Lake started a reinstitution last month.

So far in September, five Kewadin Casinos in the Upper Peninsula, along with Bay Mills Casino in Brimley, are following their lead.

Little River Casino once again requiring masks

Little River, which is operated by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, made the announcement last month on its Facebook page about the requirement. The mandate went into effect in August.

It stated: “Properly worn masks that cover the nose and mouth is required by all individuals. This includes all guests, team members, and vendors, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.”

Exceptions are made for eating and drinking on property, smoking in a designated area or when you’re in your own hotel room.

In addition, gaiters, bandanas and masks with an exhalation port are prohibited.

Little River is partnered with Rush Street Interactive for its sports betting and online casino offerings. BetRivers Sportsbook and BetRivers Casino will continue to be an option for players not comfortable with playing live at the casino or unwilling to wear a mask.

Gun Lake Casino required masks starting in August

Gun Lake Casino near Grand Rapids was actually the first to require masks again in August.

According to the update, “masks must cover your nose and mouth area completely, and are required regardless of vaccination status. Masks are not required while seated in restaurants, or while actively eating or drinking outside of dining venues.”

Kewadin Casinos chain, Bay Mills adding mask mandates again

As of Sept. 13, guests and team members at Kewadin Casinos were required to wear a mask.

The U.P. chain has locations in:

  • Christmas
  • Hessel
  • Manistique
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • St. Ignace

In addition, Bay Mills required masks as of Wednesday, Sept. 8. Wild Bluff Golf Course in Brimley, also operated by the Bay Mills Indian Community, is also requiring masks in all public areas.

Masks will be available at the Kewadin locations and Bay Mills casino upon entry.

Photo by Matt Schoch/PlayMichigan
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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