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Spokesman: Potawatomi ‘not currently planning to make changes to operations’ due to coronavirus

MILWAUKEE — A spokesman with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino said Sunday, March 15, “Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is not currently planning to make changes to operations” amid concerns over the coronavirus.

In a statement to FOX6 News, the Potawatomi spokesman added, “We continue to monitor the situation, follow the lead of local authorities and make decisions based in the best interests of our guests and the 2,700 employees that call Potawatomi their place of work.”

Gov. Tony Evers on Friday, March 13 ordered all of Wisconsin’s K-12 schools to close in the hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, a move affecting nearly a million students and their families. This, following a flurry of business and other closures in the wake of the suspension of the NBA on March 11 — and subsequent suspension of other sports seasons.

Vice President Mike Pence said the federal government would release updated guidance on Monday concerning restaurants, bars, and other establishments. California and Illinois were among jurisdictions where restaurants and bars were ordered to close to help slow the spread of the virus.

“Many businesses have taken the steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or disease in general by making alterations in their open and close time and their staffing levels,” said Jeanette Kowalik, Milwaukee health commissioner, during a news conference Sunday. “We salute all of you who have done that.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Commissioner Kowalik addressed concerns regarding Potawatomi during a news conference Sunday afternoon.

“That presents a much different issue,” said Mayor Barrett. “They’re in a jurisdiction that’s outside the City of Milwaukee.  We do not have jurisdiction over the casino.”

“My understand is that they have been in contact with the state, and they have been coordinating efforts,” said Kowalik. “Obviously, we’re concerned with them because their operation is 24 hours. Seniors go to Potawatomi. We want to make sure we are not exposing individuals to COVID-19. I do know they also stepped up their cleaning procedures and protocols, so they are working to make sure Potawatomi a cleaner and safer facility.”

Mayor Barrett discouraged large gatherings ahead of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, and Commissioner Kowalik promoted social distancing.

“We do not want large crowds of people,” said Mayor Barrett. “You can see this around the world.  Large groups of people are being discouraged, and I would discourage that, as well.”

“Obviously, social distancing is an extremely important way to stop the spread of this disease,” said Kowalik. “You can celebrate St. Patty’s in smaller groups.  You don’t need to have this big, over 250, which is what we’re prohibiting.”

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