The opening of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain in late 2019 brought with it an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into the Yuba-Sutter community.
In order for that investment to pay off, doors have to be open, and that typically would be the case for the Yuba County casino and hotel ... if it weren’t for an unprecedented public health emergency due to COVID-19.
After being open for business less than five full months, Hard Rock announced in mid-March the facility would be closed through the end of the month. This week, that temporary closure was extended to April 16, to then be re-evaluated.
Local Hard Rock President Mark Birtha said the ownership behind the project is prepared to endure the closure and plan to continue compensating employees.
“Our ownership invested hundreds of millions of dollars and almost 20 years of time to bring this property to fruition,” Birtha said. “They were prepared at every level, and thus we set ourselves up with our banking partners to be able to weather any storm, including this one. Although we are prepared to open at anytime when we get the guidance from the governor’s office and Yuba-Sutter health departments, we have the financial tools in place to get us through this closure period completely intact.”
During the closure, the company plans to continue providing compensation and full health benefits to its staff members. Employees are also being encouraged to participate in online WebEx training in guest services and to enroll in a program through Florida Atlantic University to earn their hospitality and management certificates online, with the cost being covered by Hard Rock.
“There is no resource more important to our current performance and future success than our team members,” Birtha said. “Our ownership, the Enterprise Rancheria Tribe, and Hard Rock International management collectively agreed that we needed to ensure our team members were given the resources needed to help weather this storm.”
To help the community during the coronavirus situation, Hard Rock donated thousands of dollars worth of its food inventories to those in need throughout the region, and ownership donated personal protective equipment to local hospitals including Adventist Health/Rideout.
In house, Birtha said, his team has already invested in more sanitizer dispenser stations and completed a deep cleaning throughout the property in preparation for reopening.
They’ve also enhanced their CDC training for staff members.
All promotions that were planned at the facility during this time will be honored upon reopening, and hotel reservations impacted by the situation will be refunded in full, Birtha said.
For the time being, entertainment is being postponed through May 1, and any tickets that were purchased for events during the public health emergency are being refunded.
“Although we are temporarily closed, our management has been working on a number of new programs and amenities that will be introduced when we do reopen in our food and beverage, gaming and entertainment spaces,” Birtha said. “‘You Sang, We Listened’ is our program that is focused on giving all of our guests exactly what they want here at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain when we open our doors in the near future. They can download our mobile app, social gaming site, and our social media channels to get regular announcements and updates.”