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The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians announced on March 27 that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chumash properties will extend their temporary closure by, at minimum, an additional 30 days. The affected properties include Chumash Casino Resort, Hotel Corque, Root 246, Hadsten House, and the Kitá Wines tasting room. The tribe announced that it would be temporarily closing those facilities on March 15, and those closures are now expected to continue into late April at the very least.
The tribe — the largest employer in the Santa Ynez Valley — employs more than 2,000 Santa Barbara County residents, the majority of whom have been furloughed for the coming weeks. While the tribe initially committed to paying workers, Tribal Chair Kenneth Kahn stated in Friday’s release, “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.”