Cuomo: New York casinos are non-essential, will remain closed

Casinos across the US are continuing to reopen, but that’s not going to be the case for various New York commercial venues for the time being. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo last week commissioned the reopening of shopping centres but gave no indication about the still-closed casinos being able to welcome back customers any time soon. 

Casinos owned by Native Americans in New York have already been open again for almost two months, with the commercial venues shut down since 16th March. 

Casinos deemed to be non-essential businesses

As a result of Cuomo deciding not to reopen casinos’ doors, the del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, Resorts World Catskills, Rivers Casino in Schenectady and Tioga Downs Casino Resort will all have to keep their doors shut. 

Despite being closed for four-and-a-half months, Cuomo gave no indication as to when commercial casinos in the Empire State would be allowed to reopen. Prior to their shutdowns, venues had already introduced various safety measures – including limited capacity and reducing the number of offerings available. 

When explaining why malls and shopping centres could open but not casinos, Cuomo simply stated: “you don’t need a casino to maintain survival”. He also went on to say that “people need food, people need clothes, people need home goods.”

The State Governor also mentioned that “it’s an issue of density, the likelihood of compliance and the essential nature of the business.”

Two weeks ago, del Lago Resort & Casino Executive Vice President and General Manager Lance Young told The Citizen that the casino has been working on a safety plan called ‘Extra Care’. Adhering to both federal and state guidelines, both employees and guests would be screened before entering the venue. Limited capacity and social distancing would also be enforced. 

Most casinos in the US are now open again 

Despite continuing to be one of the pandemic’s hardest-hit countries, various states in the US have moved forward with reopening their casinos. 

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), a total of 843 tribal and commercial venues across the country have now begun welcoming back customers. 147, on the flip side, are still shut. 

Casinos across the US have introduced safety measures similar to those proposed by del Lago Resort & Casino. Some of these have been their own choice, whereas others were enforced by local state governments. 

COVID-19 in New York State

According to a Governor update on Monday, state hospitalisations due to COVID-19 in New York had dropped to their lowest total since 17th March. 

422,000 cases have been reported across the state, with 34,222 deaths linked to the virus. 

In his Governor update, Cuomo edged on the side of caution – despite dropping cases. 

“Look at what’s going on across the country, look at those increases, look at the number of states included in our travel advisory, and look at incidents of lack of compliance. 

“The numbers are a result of New Yorkers’ actions – we have been disciplined and we have to stay disciplined. 

“In terms of enforcement, local governments have to do a better job. We’re doing everything we can on the stateside.”

 

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