New York Casinos to Reopen?


New York’s commercial casinos have been taking a pounding since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March. New York City was the worst-hit area in the U.S., and Gov. Andrew Cuomo put in strict lockdown procedures, so the city would not feel the pain of a second wave come through the state.

As the outbreak lessened and the curve started to become flat, lockdown restrictions were eased up, and things slowly improved for the Empire State. However, some bigger entertainment venues in New York have not received the same treatment as bars and restaurants around the state.

Movie theaters, entertainment venues, and casinos are still shutdown as Cuomo believes that those could turn into breeding grounds for another outbreak. That is until Cuomo recently made comments about potentially opening up casinos sooner than later.

Cuomo’s Change of Heart

This week Gov. Cuomo hinted that good news is coming for New York casinos.

“We will have an announcement next week,” Cuomo said Sunday during a conference call with reporters. “It is going to be positive news.”

A lot of experts in the casino industry believe the news will be about casino reopening in the coming weeks after being shut down since March. Earlier this summer, casinos notified workers that if the shutdown lasted longer than six months, then they would be laid off.

The layoffs would start after the six months of furloughed payments would run out. However, it looks like Cuomo will make sure that it does not happen by allowing the commercial casinos to open back up this fall at a limited capacity, of course.

Casino workers have been protecting and tearing into Cuomo for the decisions he has made around the state’s commercial casinos.

This makes sense as the tribal casinos throughout upstate New York have been open since June and July at limited capacity. Surrounding states like Connecticut have also reopened its casinos this summer.

So why is Cuomo torturing the commercial casino employees? No clue; maybe he likes having the power control over them. Or maybe, just let them open at a limited capacity because there are literal casinos that are open in the state and showing Cuomo how to open and also limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

Regardless, “positive news” will be coming this week to the casinos, so hopefully, it is that they will reopen. There has literally been zero positive news with New York casinos since the pandemic began, so it has to be that, right?

How to Make it Work

Assuming Cuomo is not crazy and making up the fact that there is good news, there are proven ways to open up casinos without turning them into a coronavirus breeding ground.

The Oneida tribe in upstate New York opened up their casinos with multiple rules and procedures in place to limit the spread, and the New York commercial casinos will most likely do the same.

The first is to screen all customers and employees that come into the building. If anyone is showing symptoms or has a high temperature, then they cannot enter. Also, masks will most likely be mandatory for everyone inside the building.

Capacity will most likely sit at 25 percent, and social distancing measures will be enforced. Commercial casinos will also probably distance slots and table games to help keep social distancing practices in place.

Do not forget the Olympic size pool of hand sanitizer that will be distributed throughout the casino as well. Multiple hand sanitizer stations will be in place around the commercial casinos.

If they can alternate the airflow that goes through the casino, that will also help. If air is not recirculating throughout the casino, then fresh, uncontaminated air will also help.

Casinos should be able to open with little worry about the spread, as long as it is done right.