Casinos in New York State have been given the green light to begin reopening next week, albeit with certain restrictions in place to help prevent any spike or spread of COVID-19.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday, Sept. 3 that casinos and video lottery terminal facilities can reopen as of Saturday, Sept. 9 with a 25 percent occupancy limit.
According to Cuomo, any venues that reopen will be subject to safety restrictions that include strict enforcement of face coverings except when eating or drinking, and social distancing.
The reopening decision will apply to the state's four private casinos:
- Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County,
- del Lago in Seneca County,
- Rivers Casino in Schenectady,
- Tioga Downs in Tioga County.
Casinos owned by Indian Nations have been opened since early June.
When reopening, additional staff will be put in place to control occupancy, traffic flow, and seating to avoid crowding, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols must be followed.
Casinos must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards in place before officially opening.
Cuomo said that casinos must leave six feet of distance between operating machines, and no table games will be permitted until casinos put physical barriers in place between potential players.
No beverage or food service will be allowed on the gaming floor, and the Gaming Commission will be tasked and deployed to monitor state casinos to ensure compliance.
"New Yorkers have done an extraordinary job - we flattened the curve in a way that no expert thought was possible," Cuomo said.
"We've made the determination that we can safely reopen casinos with enhanced air filtration and strict safety protocols including mandatory masks and social distancing,” he added. “This is good news and the right next step in our data-driven, phased reopening which is working."
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