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COVID-19

COVID-19 has closed tribal casinos and cut off other vital revenue sources

Savannah Maher Jun 15, 2020
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The Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Wind River Hotel and Casino, located on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, has been closed since mid-March. Savannah Maher
COVID-19

COVID-19 has closed tribal casinos and cut off other vital revenue sources

Savannah Maher Jun 15, 2020
Heard on:
The Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Wind River Hotel and Casino, located on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, has been closed since mid-March. Savannah Maher
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Some Native American tribes have seen high infection rates from COVID-19. And the COVID-19 pandemic has also stalled one of the primary economic engines for tribes. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of tribal casinos have closed their doors. For tribes like the Northern Arapaho, that means an abrupt interruption of revenue that funds vital social services. And unlike state and local governments, tribes don’t have a tax base to fall back on.

Joseph Kalt, with The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, says that without sufficient federal aid, casino closures could set tribal economies back decades and have a catastrophic impact on reservation life. It also means social services are at risk just when they’re needed most to help combat COVID-19.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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