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The reopenings take place roughly two months since the casinos were closed due to COVID-19. Courtesy photo
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Viejas Casino reopens, more casinos to follow suit this week

REGION — Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine will reopen in limited fashion today and three other casinos in San Diego County will follow suit this week.

Sycuan Casino Resort will reopen Wednesday, Jamul Casino will reopen on Thursday and Valley View Casino & Hotel will reopen Friday.

The reopenings take place roughly two months since the casinos were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Bingo and poker will remain closed as part of the phased reopening. Restaurants will operate for limited hours and gaming areas will require appropriate spacing between players and staff.

Tables games will be limited to a maximum of three players per table and every other slot machine will be turned off to further encourage space between players.

Patrons and staff will also be required to undergo temperature checks, wear masks at all times and practice physical distancing.

All four casinos are on tribal land, meaning they are not subject to the same state regulations that have limited most business operations in California.

County health officials, meanwhile, reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of cases to 5,836 with the death toll remaining at 209.

Of the 4,363 tests reported to the county so far, 4% were positive new cases. The number of patients requiring hospitalization is 1,104, and 332 patients had to be placed in intensive care, according to San Diego Public Health Services.

In an effort to combat recent incidents in Santee of people in grocery stores using their COVID-19 face coverings to display symbols of racism and hate, in addition to recent rises in hate crimes based on bias and prejudice, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Sunday that he will propose the creation of a human relations commission to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

“In the last several years, divisive rhetoric, hate speech and outward acts of violence have been on the rise across the United States, and while no community is ever immune to it, it has come out from the shadows and into the light in San Diego County,” Fletcher said.

The proposed Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission would consist of 25 voting members representing a cross-section of the community, Fletcher said. The objective of the commission will be to “foster an inclusive culture and more equitable San Diego County.”

Fletcher cited the rise in antisemitism with the mass shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in 2019 and recent derogatory graffiti targeting Asian Americans found last week at a Little League field in the Allied Gardens neighborhood of San Diego.

Williams was the only African American to have served on the Board of Supervisors. Fletcher met with community leaders last year to discuss forming a commission after he learned the county no longer had the one founded by Williams.

The proposed commission was originally scheduled to be introduced in February but was postponed after the coronavirus began to spread.

A walk-in testing site at the Tubman-Chavez Community Center at 415 Euclid Ave in Southeast San Diego will open its doors Tuesday and has capacity for 132 testing appointments a day.

Fletcher said that starting today, Jewish Family Service of San Diego would begin overseeing both San Diego and Imperial counties’ Immigrant Disaster Relief Fund, part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s effort to provide assistance for undocumented Californians.

Newsom announced the $125 million state relief program to provide financial assistance to undocumented immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic.

Applicants for the disaster relief fund locally can apply for a one- time sum of $500. A household will be limited to $1,000. Interested applicants can call 858-206-8291 to get more information.

Lake Jennings campground will open to RVs in a limited capacity starting today. Only registered campers will be allowed.

There will be no day-use access to the lake, trails, boating or fishing and tent camping is not allowed. Only members of the same household can occupy a campsite at Lake Jennings and each site is capped at six campers. Half of all campsites will be left empty.

Some county offices will begin opening to the public for limited services over the next several weeks. On Friday, administration buildings and the department of environmental health opened. The county’s offices in Kearny Mesa will open today and offices in Escondido and National City will follow shortly thereafter.

Beginning May 26, the county will begin reopening some branches of its library system for curbside service. In the first wave, branches in Imperial Beach, Alpine, Ramona, Encinitas, Vista and Borrego Springs will resume limited service, with other county branches to follow shortly thereafter.

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