By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 05, 2020 at 11:32 AM

By invitation only, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in the Menomonee Valley will begin to reopen at 9 a.m. Monday, June 8 and slowly continue the process through Tuesday, June 9 and beyond.

On Wednesday, June 10, existing Fire Keeper’s Club members will be able to bring one guest to one of four daily three-hour reservation windows, with reservations made via an online reservation system available now on the property's app and website.

Only invited guests or those with reservations will be permitted on site during the phased re-opening.

Potawatomi closed to the public in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many changes will be in place, including protective measures, limited hours and capacity and more. See below for a list, as provided by Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.

"We look forward to welcoming guests and team members back. Because of the priority we place on everyone’s health and safety during this unique time, we’ve implemented a number of changes to reflect that focus," said Rodney Ferguson, CEO and general manager.

"These changes are not meant to be permanent, but will be kept in place until it’s safe to move closer to pre-pandemic operations."

Major changes to operations include:

  • An online guest reservation system.
  • Reduced hours of operation. The casino will be open from 9 a.m. to midnight daily.
  • Limited capacity with a maximum of 600 guests at any time. This number adheres to the guideline of one guest per 250 square-feet of space suggested in the state of Wisconsin’s "Badger Bounce Back Plan."
  • Limited gaming. Plexiglass divider panels have been added to slot machines to create a barrier between players. Table games, off-track betting, poker and bingo will remain closed.
  • No smoking throughout the property until further notice. An outdoor smoking area will be available for guests.
  • Requirement of face masks to be worn by guests and team members while in the building. Guests must bring and wear their own masks.
  • Temperature scans will be required of guests and team members upon entry.
    Checks will be conducted with contactless thermometers. Anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4˚F or higher will be rechecked with a secondary screening. Those confirmed to have a temperature of 100.4˚F or higher will be denied entry.
  • Guests and team members will be asked if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or have experienced them recently upon entry.
  • Installation of plexiglass divider panels at cashier windows, players club booths, restaurant host stands, hotel front desk and security desks.
  • Increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing in all public spaces with an emphasis on high-contact surfaces. Cleaning products and protocols will meet EPA guidelines and are approved for use against viruses, bacteria and other airborne and blood-borne pathogens.
  • Limited dining options. No dine-in service; take-out service available at RuYi, Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill and Canal Street Cafe.
  • Limited hotel occupancy. Twenty-five percent of rooms will be available for guest stays. There will be no valet, spa, fitness center, retail or banquet services available during this first phase of re-opening.
  • Potawatomi Hotel & Casino team members will be trained on all safety protocols related to COVID-19. Signage throughout property will feature health- and hygiene-related messaging, including the proper way to wear, handle and dispose of masks.
Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.