New York's Casinos Start Reopening

After about six months, casinos in NY are allowed to reopen and some are already working.

New York's Casinos Start Reopening image

The New York casinos, that had been closed since the shutdown that started in March, finally started reopening. Four large resort casinos in the city - Resorts World Catskills, del Lago, Rivers Casino, and Tioga Downs - are already running and welcoming back its customers. Some casinos such as Empire City Casino and the racetrack casino ("racino") Yonkers Raceway are scheduled to open later this month, at the 21th, while a few others have not announced their reopening dates yet.

The governor and his team of public health advisers were reluctant to relax restrictions but after strict extended lockdowns the wait is finally over with New York being the last state to reopen casinos.

New Yorkers have done an extraordinary job,” Governor Cuomo commented. “This is good news and the right next step in our data-driven, phased reopening which is working", he then added.

There are, as expected, protocols that must be followed by the casinos. Some of them are: not being allowed to have customers over 25% their total capacities and also the workforce in the casinos should be adjusted to fit within this total occupation limit, any gatherings and even spaces must be kept under the maximum number of fifty people, requiring masks of everyone in the casino except for those who are eating at the restaurant, requiring updating and inspecting of the air ventilation systems before reopening, minimizing the touching of cards whenever possible, tables and slot machines must be at least six feet apart and people should be social distancing, players must be separated by physical barriers from each other and from patrons and so on. A commission must approve each casino and their safety measures before it is allowed to reopen.

Most owners are keeping things like the buffet closed for the moment to avoid any unnecessary risks. Hotels and horse races, however, are being prioritized. Owners seem relieved that they are finally allowed to reopen, although surely they must have expected this reopening to have come sooner. There has even been a rally in Albany by workers related to the casinos in New York and even lawmakers to request this permission from the governor and arguing, among other things, that Native American casinos in the area had already reopened previously because they have sovereign status, as well as other neighboring states, and if they can follow the proper safety measures so can the other casinos in the New York area.