Staff Report

As the state of California maintains its aggressive efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will extend the temporary closure of the Chumash Casino Resort, Hotel Corque, Root 246, Hadsten House, and Kitá tasting room for at least another 30 days. This closure timeframe will be constantly reassessed as new information becomes available.

On March 15, the tribe announced the casino would close its doors amid coronavirus pandemic concerns that gripped the Tri-County area. Since that announcement, COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Santa Barbara County, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide shelter-in-place order to combat the spread of the virus.

“We believe that closing our operations when we did was the right thing to do for the safety and well-being of our team members, guests and the greater community,” said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “Extending the closure falls in line with the serious measures our local, state and federal agencies have taken to help protect the population and not overwhelm the heroes working in clinics and hospitals throughout the nation.”

The extended closure has forced the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to furlough a majority of its workforce in the coming weeks.

“This global pandemic has already taken its toll on hospitality, tourism, retail and gaming industries across the nation,” Kahn said. “During the initial shutdown, we committed to compensating our team members. While we’ve done our best to protect our team members from this unprecedented threat to our community, we’re now faced with the harsh reality of having to reduce our workforce while still supporting our team members with health care benefits. At this moment, our tribe has faith that the extreme steps our country is taking to fight COVID-19 will save lives, help us get back to normalcy and give our enterprise an opportunity to grow and flourish once again.”

Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, California, the Chumash Casino Resort is owned and operated by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Its reservation was established and officially recognized by the federal government in 1901. Today, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians remains the only federally recognized Chumash tribe in the nation. 

The tribe also owns Hotel Corque, Root 246 and Hadsten House in Solvang, two gas stations in Santa Ynez and its own wine label – Kitá Wines. As the largest employer in the Santa Ynez Valley, the tribe employs more than 2,000 residents of Santa Barbara County.