After weekend concert and nightclub opening, Northern Quest explains decision to allow crowds

‘Thunder from Down Under’ coming to Northern Quest
Credit: Northern Quest

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash — As all bars and most restaurants in Washington are either shut down or heavily restricted, Northern Quest Casino explained Monday why it’s allowing crowds for dancing and live music.

Facebook posts and videos show a crowd for a KISS Tribute band playing in the casino pavilion Saturday night. It also announced a live DJ and dancing at the EPIC sports bar the same night. A response to a Facebook comment said the dancing and DJ won’t be every weekend, but will happen on special occasions.

Northern Quest Jan 2


In a statement to 4 News Now Monday, Director of Public Relations and Communications Julie Holland said:

“As a federally recognized Native American Tribe, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians considers federal recommendations and makes independent governmental decisions based on available data. Entertainment and hospitality services are considered essential businesses by the Tribe, as revenue from Northern Quest is essential to Kalispel Tribal government operations and funds critical public safety services for the entire Tribal community, including police, fire, courts, education and healthcare. Those essential government functions are in jeopardy if the Tribe’s businesses don’t remain open for business. At Northern Quest, we are committed to following guidelines for social distancing and enhanced sanitization.  In addition, all guests and Team Members are required to wear masks.”

Northern Quest has been open for in-person dining and casino gaming throughout the pandemic.

4 News Now asked Spokane Regional Health District about the event and if the health district had any contact with Northern Quest beforehand. The Spokane Regional Health District said:

“Our guidance to those planning events remains consistent with Washington State’s Safe Start reopening plan… Northern Quest did not reach out to us for guidance or to review their plan. Many community event organizers have such as nonprofits coordinating fund-raising events, Downtown Spokane Partnership’s carriage rides, Riverfront Park’s Skate Ribbon opening, and more. Our environmental public health team is here to help and provide solutions so that businesses and organizations can continue to operate and plan events while at the same time keeping our community safe.”