This week, New York commercial casino reopened for the first time in six months. The closures began in March with the coronavirus pandemic hit the Empire State hard in the spring. A battle was fought between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and casino workers after Cuomo deemed the casinos unsafe to reopen.
“While this pandemic is far from over, our numbers have remained steadily low, so we know our phased, data-driven approach to reopening is the right one,” Cuomo said. “Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers, we are at a point in our fight against this virus where we can safely reopen malls in New York City as long as they adhere to strict health and safety protocols.”
Even as Atlantic Cit began reopening casinos at 25 percent capacity in July, New York did not feel like it was not safe to reopen. Tribal casinos in the Empire State also reopened this summer, as Cuomo kept the commercial casinos he approved of in 2013 on the sidelines.
Now, Cuomo finally allowed casinos, and shopping centers, to reopen after being remaining idle since March. Since the initial outbreak, New York has been one of the safest states when dealing with the coronavirus.
What to Expect from New York Casinos
Like every other state during the pandemic, the casinos will open up at 25 percent capacity. The Empire State will also have a 21-point safety step process that will go into the reopenings.
All customers attending the casinos must wear a mask, including employees. Casino tables and slots will have six feet of distance among one another to help with distancing practices. Also, similar to when Atlantic City reopened back in July, there will be no food or drinks being served at the casinos.
“The Resorts World team has been anxiously awaiting the day when we can open our doors again to the fun and excitement that our casinos are known for,” said Bob DeSalvio, President of Genting Americas East.
While some casinos were able to welcome guests back on Wednesday, some casinos are starting a bit later than the opening date. New York also requires casinos to have better quality air filtration systems in the casino.
This will allow cleaner air to be pumped through the casino to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Casinos Will Help the State
The coronavirus pandemic has decimated state budgets across the U.S. New York has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and could face a multi-billion dollar deficit over the coming years.
With the casinos reopening, this will help give some relief to a state that desperately needs cash right now. Even at a quarter of the capacity, the foot traffic through the New York commercial casinos will be helpful for the New York budget.
80 percent of the casino revenue goes towards New York schools, which will help, especially with online learning sweeping the country.
Arguably, the casino closures have long been overdue in a state that has done everything right in slowing the spread. Cuomo sided on the edge of caution when reopening high foot traffic areas like casinos and shopping centers.
Now, the state should be able to keep the non-essential business open to help boost the local economy.