A special COVID-19 message from Principal Chief Richard Sneed. | Cherokee, NC

How will Cherokee affect you?

Your safety comes first. And fun isn’t far behind.

Hello to all:


We know you’re ready to resume your normal life––and frankly, we are, too. But now is a critical time to resume the activities we can, and put safety, and the welfare of all of us, first. It’s why, under the authority granted me, I’ve authorized some of our businesses and adventures to reopen, with new restrictions and protections.

As of May 15, I welcomed tourists back to Cherokee’s home, the Qualla Boundary, with the following outdoor adventure options reopening at 50% capacity due to the challenges of COVID-19:

  • Mingo and Soco Falls

  • The Fire Mountain Trails

  • All Enterprise fishing waters

Further, I’ve authorized that hotels, motels, and campgrounds can reopen, again at 50% capacity, but each must respect the need for protective masks and social distancing. As of 5 p.m. on May 22, restaurants may open at 50%. Unfortunately, gyms, movie theaters, and bowling alleys must remain closed at this time and until further notice.

A word about the Casino reopening.


Many of you have asked about Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and its plans. As of May 18, and to protect the general public, the Casino is under a very restricted reopening plan, limiting its guests to those specially invited, who may in turn bring with them a single person. Cherokee’s enrolled members are also invited, along with a guest of their choosing. Those special invitees will be screened upon arrival with temperature checks, and the Casino’s impressive array of restaurants will be limited to 20% capacity. 

We all want to see you again. Safely.


We know these precautions and safety restrictions can seem like a nuisance. But each of them is in place for you and your family’s safety. We want to ensure each of you is happy, healthy, and able to return to Cherokee for years to come. And do come back, and fish our pure freestone streams. Feel the power of the rushing falls we call Mingo and Soco. Enjoy the Fire Mountain Trails, and stay with us in our variety of accommodations. Just be sure to reserve ahead to ensure your spot given our limited capacity. From all of us, we hope to see you having fun again in Cherokee soon. This time, with a little extra safety for everyone.

You can continue to find information on safety guidelines and maintaining good health here:

Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Thank you, and until we see you again, be safe.

—Richard Sneed, Principal Chief
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians