New York casinos can reopen Sept. 9 after lengthy COVID-19 shutdown

ALBANY – Privately owned casinos in New York will be able to reopen their doors Sept. 9 after a lengthy COVID-19 shutdown that kept them closed since March 16.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s casino reopening plan Thursday, four days after promising a decision would be coming this week.

The casinos will be required to cap their maximum capacity at 25%, while those who enter the facilities will be required to wear masks and some slot machines will be closed to ensure for social distancing, according to Cuomo.

The state has not yet approved table games, though casinos will be able to seek approval once installing physical barriers between guests.

The reopening decision will apply to all racetrack casinos as well as the state’s four full-fledged, privately run casinos: Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County, del Lago in Seneca County, Rivers Casino in Schenectady and Tioga Downs in Tioga County.

 It also could provide a break for local governments in the casinos’ regions, which rely on tax revenue from the facilities that has been wiped out while they’ve remained closed.

The casinos will be required to ensure their air filtration systems meet certain requirements set by the state, similar to the requirements set for indoor shopping malls.

“Casinos can open Sept. 9 on the condition that they have the enhanced air filtration system in place before they open,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters.

Now, casinos will be working over the next week to ensure they can reopen as early as possible.

Genting, which operates Resorts World Catskills and the massive Resorts World racetrack casino in Queens, plans to open its doors on Wednesday.

“We have implemented a plan to seamlessly integrate the unmatched experiences in excitement, entertainment and luxury that guests have come to expect, with the more stringent health protocols that are needed to operate safely,” Bob DeSalvio, president of Genting Americas East, said in a statement.

Meghan Taylor, Genting’s vice president of government affairs, said guests will have their temperature checked upon entering the casino.

There will be at least 200 hand sanitizer stations throughout Resorts World Catskills, which does not recirculate air and has an air filtration system that exceeds the state standards, she said.


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