CORONAVIRUS

Meskwaki casino lays off 100 employees

The layoffs come due to economic struggles during the pandemic.

A van leaves the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel on Tuesday afternoon, May 20, 2003, near Tama, Iowa. A federal judge heard
A van leaves the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel on Tuesday afternoon, May 20, 2003, near Tama, Iowa. A federal judge heard arguments Monday on whether to enforce an order by federal gaming regulators to shut down the casino. Regulators say the casino has been operating afoul of federal gaming laws since March 26, when the elected tribal council was ousted by a new council appointed by the Meskwaki’s hereditary chief. The casino remained open on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

About 100 employees have been laid off at the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama.

Casino General Manager Dan Stromer said the decision was made last week and is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed down the casino temporarily in March.

“This is something we tried to prolong longer than most,” he told The Gazette. “We just tried to delay it as long as we could.”

Stromer said the layoffs were mainly casino employees who have been furloughed throughout the year since the start of the pandemic. When the casino shut down and reopened July 1, positions in departments like food and beverage and entertainment weren’t necessary. Those services couldn’t be provided to casino users because of pandemic-related restrictions.

Stromer added that employees were cut from all departments across the casino, but food and beverage and entertainment-related positions were the most heavily affected departments.

“Anywhere there was duplication of positions, we looked at those areas. We had to make difficult decisions,” he said.

Stromer said he hopes to bring back laid-off employees when the casino can provide its full services again.

“We hope to bring those people back in the future,” Stromer said. “When things turn around, we are looking at that. But we don’t have that date in mind. We’re dealing with the challenges like any other businesses in the country right now … just like everybody, we’re trying to get through this.”

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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