AITC COVID-19 Mitigation Plan
Dear Members, Partners and Friends
As the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to make headlines, an increasing number of potential attendees at our 23rd Annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) have been asking the same question: “is the conference still on?”
While none of us has a crystal ball as to what the future will hold, AIANTA would like to assure attendees that expect to attend an in-person conference—scheduled for October 25-28, 2021, in Fort McDowell (Scottsdale), Arizona—continue as planned.
After shifting to a virtual platform last year, AIANTA has heard from so many partners that they missed the lessons that can only be learned from attending an in-person gathering. We know attending an in-person conference is a weighty decision for you all at this time, informed not only by official travel policies and budgets, but also by personal concerns about safety.
We assure you all, your safety is of the utmost importance to us. Below, we have outlined AIANTA’s AITC COVID-19 Mitigation Plan (which is aligned with We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort’s and Fort McDowell Yavapai policies). Please bookmark the web page www.aianta.org/COVID to stay up to date with the latest updates to that policy.
We encourage you to reach out to our team if we can provide any additional information on attending the 23rd Annual American Indian Tourism Conference.
The Spread of the COVID-19 Delta Variant
As with you all, we’ve been watching the spread of the Delta variant with concern. While data is mixed, in general the growth in cases remains primarily among the unvaccinated population. In fact, according to the As Delta Surges, Covid-19 Breakthrough Cases Remain Uncommon article in the Wall Street Journal, the vaccinated population has a 0.1% chance of contracting the Delta Variant. That’s one in one thousand people.
Why Continue with the Conference?
We believe that after the difficult year we endured, an in-person gathering is the very thing we all need to plan for tourism successes during the coming years.
Additionally, we are very excited about the people who have already registered for AITC: the attendees, the keynote speakers, the breakout session speakers, the exhibitors, the sponsors and the artisans who will showcase their merchandise at our AITC artisan market.
American Indian Tourism Conference COVID-19 Mitigation Policy
If the spread of the Delta variant continues to affect a specific subset of the general population, AIANTA will move forward with the conference, with our COVID-19 Mitigation Plan firmly in place.
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort Protocols
As we proceed, AIANTA will produce AITC in full compliance with the State of Arizona, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Tribal Council, and We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort’s health and safety regulations.
- We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort uses the term “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing” to remind guests to keep their distance from people who are not in their traveling party.
- Guests will be advised and directed to practice physical distancing by standing away from other groups of people not traveling with them while standing in lines, using elevators or moving around the property.
- All Resort outlets comply with or exceed local and/or state mandated occupancy limits.
- Plexiglas shields have been installed at service counter areas throughout the casino, hotel, restaurants, pool and back-of-house areas.
- Restaurant tables, slot machines and other physical layouts are being arranged to ensure appropriate distancing.
- We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort team members are asked to practice physical distancing by standing a comfortable distance away from guests and other team members whenever possible.
All AITC attendees will be required to provide proof of vaccination when checking in for the conference. Attendees who declined the vaccine due to ADA, religious accommodation laws or any other reasons, will be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results for a test conducted within 72 hours of the start of AITC. AIANTA will not reimburse attendees for the cost of COVID 19 testing.
AIANTA requires the collection of “Sign-in Data” for contact tracing purposes. At registration, attendees will be required to provide the full name, address, and phone number of at least one adult member of their group, and the name and phone number of each individual attendee. This data may be made available to State and City health officials upon request. Otherwise, the data shall be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible.
As of July 29, 2021, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Tribal Council reinstated its Mask Order, which requires all employees to wear a facemask in public. Additionally, mandatory testing is in place for all employees who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
It is AIANTA’s policy that all AIANTA staff and AITC attendees–vaccinated or otherwise–be required to wear a mask in any public space or in any gathering room. Masks are not required during meals, but it is recommended attendees wear masks immediately before and after consuming their meal.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own masks, but AIANTA masks will also be provided at the AITC registration counter.
In keeping with the policy of all Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts, We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort does not require temperature checks to enter the facility.
Hand sanitizer dispensers, touchless whenever possible, are located at key guest and team member entrances and highly frequented areas, such as driveways, reception areas, hotel lobbies, the casino floor, blackjack tables, restaurant entrances, meeting and convention spaces, elevator landings, etc.
It is AIANTA’s policy that all AITC attendees entering any meal area, or the silent auction space shall be required to use hand sanitizer, especially those attendees handling pens and making a bid on auction prizes.
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort will work with AIANTA (depending on the number of attendees in each room) to set proper physical distancing guidelines.
AIANTA will monitor AITC attendance numbers and enact appropriate physical distancing measures in all meeting rooms, event spaces, meal areas and other gathering spaces. An official policy will be announced closer to the start of AITC.
Additionally, We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort policies include:
- All room capacities will be reconfigured to promote social distancing.
- If required, AIANTA may extend AITC meeting space to outdoor areas to enact physical distancing requirements.
- Cleaning and sanitizing schedules will be provided and completed regularly throughout the day
- Sanitizers and disinfectant wipes will be supplied by and inside all meeting rooms.
- All break out areas to be cleaned after every use
- All Ardencote AV equipment, including flipcharts, LCD projectors, TVs, and remotes, will be cleaned daily.
- All tables and chairs in meeting rooms will be cleaned and sanitized after every meeting.
Food & Beverage Policies
- We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort is following all recommendations of the CDC and FDA to ensure team members are creating the safest possible environment for guests and team members.
- All F&B team members have attended, successfully passed and are current holders of the Maricopa Food Handlers card, which teaches proper sanitation practices, how to avoid cross contamination and other ways to promote public health.
- There is limited seating in public food and beverage outlets to ensure proper distancing between parties.
- All tables will be spaced.
- Some public food and beverage outlets and restaurants may be closed or offer limited hours.
- Queue lines with distancing decals will be in place to receive walk up service.
- Tables and chairs will be sanitized after each use.
- Tongs will be used to garnish all drinks.
- POS terminals will be sanitized every hour.
- All countertops, workstations, cooler door handles, and draft beer taps will be sanitized at least once an hour.
Conference Meal Functions
- Single-use items will be removed from tables and available on request.
- Individual water bottles and disposable cups will be provided.
- Sugar and stirrers will be individually wrapped.
- All food and refreshments will be individually wrapped.
Front Desk, Check-In, and Bell Desk
- Guidance will be provided to all guests on arrival and departure to ensure physical distancing measures are followed.
- Guests will be asked to wait in the reception area until the reception desk is clear.
- Pre check-in is encouraged; if a guest does not pre-check-in, they will be asked to sign a hotel registration card only.
- Perspex hygiene barriers will be in place at the reception area to provide an efficient screen.
- Countertops will be sanitized after every guest interaction.
- Key cards will be sanitized before being provided to guests.
- A guest directory is available by email, a laminated copy is available on request.
- A hand sanitizer station will be available in the reception area.
- Reception area seating has been reconfigured to maintain social distancing.
- Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer is available behind the reception desk.
- Carts, wheelchairs, luggage carts will be cleaned and disinfected between guests.
- Team members will use a single cart per room reservation.
- Carts will be cleaned and disinfected prior to storage.
Hotel Check Out
- Guests are encouraged to utilize a paperless checkout.
- Guests are required to pay for all items purchased during their visit at the time of purchase, therefore ensuring minimum requirements during the checkout process.
- A container will be provided on the reception desk to return room keys.
- Key cards will be sanitized prior to being reused by other guests.
- We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort is unable to accept the handling of cash while the COVID – 19 policies are in place.
Guest Arrival by Valet, Taxi or Rideshare
- Valet services have been suspended until further notice.
- Guests are to enter the Casino Resort through designated doors.
- Guests requesting bell service will be assisted with a freshly sanitized bell cart. Bell carts will be sanitized after each guest is assisted.
Guest Arrival by Resort Transportation
- All resort vehicles will be thoroughly sanitized upon each return to property.
Public Spaces and Communal Areas
- The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing has been increased in all public spaces with an emphasis on frequent high-contact surfaces, including but not limited to, front desk check-in counters, bell desks, elevators and elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms, room keys and locks, ATMs, kiosks, escalator and stair handrails, casino cage counters, gaming machines, gaming tables, gym equipment, dining surfaces and seating areas.
- A We-Ko-Pa team member will sanitize all button panels at regular intervals.
- Signage will be posted to explain current procedures.
- The Casino is open 24 hours.
- High-touch points are sanitized and cleaned on an increased schedule.
- Additional hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the casino.
Hotel Amenities and Services
- Ahnala Restaurant – Open
- Pool Bar- Open with Physical Distancing Guidelines
- Fitness Center – Open with Physical Distancing Guidelines
- Spa – Open
Cleaning Products & Protocols
- The We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort uses cleaning products and protocols which meet EPA guidelines that are approved effective against viruses, bacteria and other airborne and blood borne pathogens. The resort is continuously working with vendors, distribution partners and suppliers to ensure an uninterrupted supply of these cleaning supplies and necessary PPE.
- Industry-leading cleaning and sanitizing protocols are used to clean guest rooms, with particular attention paid to high-touch contact items, including television remote controls, toilet seats and handles, door and furniture handles, water faucet handles, nightstands, telephones, in-room control panels, light switches, temperature control panels, alarm clocks, luggage racks and flooring.
Room Recovery Protocol
- In the event of a presumptive case of COVID-19, the guest’s room will be removed from service and quarantined. The guest room will not be returned to service until the case has been confirmed or cleared. In the event of a positive case, the room will only be returned to service after undergoing an enhanced sanitization protocol by a licensed third-party sanitation company.
Does We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort Have Doctors on Standby?
Fountain Hills Medical Center
Fountain Hills Medical Center is a physician-owned Outpatient Medical Center with a 24hr Freestanding Emergency department and Medical Clinic. https://fhmcaz.com
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort is a non-smoking facility in the casino, restaurants, hotel and all indoor areas. This includes e-cigarettes, vapes, and all similar devices. This policy has been put into place for the benefit of all guests and team members and to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
There are four outdoor smoking areas with comfortable seating at designated outdoor patios and courtyards.
Additionally, the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation prohibits guests from consuming marijuana at any of its establishments. This includes the recreational use of marijuana.
COVID-19 symptoms include but are not limited to: Fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Please do not attend if you have any of the above COVID-19 symptoms.