COVID-19 has impacted us financially, socially, physically, and emotionally. We have had the challenge of paying bills and taking care of our tribal members as well as employees, when no revenue was coming in due to business closures.
We streamlined and fine-tuned many services such as A and B shifts, as well as drive-thru membership meetings, which allowed the membership to still conduct business while keeping everyone safe and allowing the tribe to move forward.
Our tribe is a close-knit community and we have all known someone or we ourselves have been affected by COVID-19. It takes a mental toll on our tribal members as we face this health crisis, but I feel we have come together to care for each other and keep our spirits strong during this time.
During this public health crisis, we worked tirelessly to communicate with both the tribal members and Rolling Hills Casino and Resort employees. Luckily, our planning processes considered such a disruption to our organizations, so we had virtual communications platforms already deployed allowing for operational continuity.
The challenges have been to work closely with local and state officials to be consistent with COVID-19 safety requirements. The opportunities are largely in the area of increased guest services, food and hotel accommodations, and slot and table options.
As positive test cases and mortality rates sharply decline, there is a better sense of public health and safety from our tribal members. Our government offices have shifted back to being fully opened to the public and our business entities have relaxed pandemic protocols that were put in place over a year ago.
There have been many challenges in 2021, namely staffing and keeping our community safe; but, there have also been opportunities as it relates to CARES and ARPA funds. Tribal nations have never witnessed such a large investment into Indian Country and it is unlikely that we will ever see this again in our lifetime.
COVID-19 has had a reverberating effect on our tribe and community as a whole. The pandemic has changed the predictability of the workforce, supplies and resources. Operating hours and standard operating procedures have changed to keep our team members and community safe.
The Yurok Tribe is in the middle of a major growth period, which is both challenging and rewarding. We are developing multiple businesses in environmental restoration, commercial construction and telecommunications.
Our properties are continuing to expand due to the need for more operational space and accommodations for both the casino and hotel operations, including expanding our tribal gaming regulatory operations, surveillance, IT operation and facility maintenance.