Chiloquin, Ore. – The Coronavirus threat is having a big impact on Tribal governments, and casinos.
Klamath Tribal Chairman Don Gentry has been conducting most of his business from home. “I haven’t spent this much time at home, for – in fact, I don’t think ever.”
The Klamath Tribal Administration Building is closed.
Tribal Council has been meeting through teleconferencing.
Klamoya Casino, and the neighboring ‘Sleep Inn’ are both closed, and parking lots are empty.
“We are actually providing administrative leave and pay to our Tribal employees for a time.” Notes Gentry. “But we’ve had to furlough our employees so they could take advantage of the unemployment opportunities.”
The Crater Lake Junction Travel Center remains open for business with reduced hours.
Klamath Tribal Health is also open, with limited services.
“There’s extra precautions in place.” Points out Gentry. “To protect the staff, and protect the clients who come in.”
Chairman Gentry says there’s no timeline yet in place to re-open services.
“I think we would take more of a strategy similar to what the Governor has identified.” Gentry suggests. “We need to have certain things in place that would make sure it’s safe for folks to go back to work.”
While this year’s public Chwaam ceremony to pray for the return of suckers was cancelled, Gentry says a Tribal Elder held a scaled back ceremony. “And thank our Creator for the fish, and pray for their return – and pray for our communities, and healing of our lands.”
Chairman Gentry was unable to confirm if any Tribal members have tested positive for Coronavirus.