Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Route 66 Casino Hotel on Laguna Pueblo has temporarily closed for two weeks due to positive COVID-19 test results among employees.
The closure went into effect at 5 p.m. Sunday. Laguna Development Corporation made the decision to cease operations at the casino and hotel after 13 Route 66 employees tested positive for coronavirus. All LDC employees have been undergoing mandatory testing since Route 66 Casino Hotel reopened on June 24, according to a LDC news release.
Between late June and Oct. 22 eight positive employee cases were detected at the company. All of the cases were traced to exposure outside of the casino and hotel. The most recent cases also were due to exposure out of the property.
“LDC has done an extraordinary job of adhering to the health and safety protocols over the last four months of reduced operations,” Pueblo of Laguna Governor Wilfred Herrera said in the news release. “That is why our positive cases have remained low. However, infections in the region are flaring and our top priority remains protecting the health of our community and doing our part to minimize the spread of the virus.”
Route 66 Casino Hotel employees will be paid and their benefits will remain intact during the closure. All employees will be retested for the virus over the next several days and have been asked to self-quarantine as they await results, according to the news release.
“The increases in virus infections throughout New Mexico and the increase we saw as a result of mandatory employee testing this past week, encouraged us to exercise an abundance of caution to close down operations,” LDC president and CEO Maxine Velasquez said in the news release. “We will thoroughly sanitize and clean the entire Route 66 facility during the closure. We will also remind every employee, their family and friends to demonstrate COVID Safe Practices at home and at work. None of us can let our guard down.”
The Route 66 Travel Centers on Interstate 40 at exits 108 and 140 will remain open. The Route 66 RV Resort, the Marketplace at Dancing Eagle as well as convenience stores, gas stations and Laguna Burger restaurants also will stay open with all health and safety protocols and reduced levels of operation in place, according to the news release.