Navajo Gaming is temporarily laying off over 11-hundred employees to start the new year. Officials say due to the “drastic and prolonged economic impact of COVID-19,” 1,120 employees will be temporarily laid off January 1st. NNGE leadership had repeatedly warned leaders that if Navajo casinos were not allowed to re-open, even at a reduced capacity, layoffs would be necessary. Officials say 165 employees will remain to ensure that essential functions are performed during this time. Additionally, Navajo Gaming says they face the possibility of permanent closure by the end of January if not allowed to partially reopen, or receive alternate funding. Permanent closure of the casinos would come at a cost of $460-million to the Navajo Nation for the first year. Navajo Gaming interim CEO Brian Parrish says “we believe we can responsibly reopen, at a reduced occupancy with the implementation of first-in-class safety protocols.” He says “we have studied the science and reviewed the best guidelines at each stage. We have consistently laid out our step-by-step plans to strike the right balance and have detailed the catastrophic consequences of continued closure.” Navajo Gaming operates the tribes four casinos, including Twin Arrows Casino Resort east of Flagstaff.