Upstate New York Casinos Continue to See Positive COVID Cases

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According to local officials, Yellow Brick Road Casino saw a customer who recently visited test positive for COVID-19. The customer visited the casino on October 11 between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm and was wearing a mask.

The health department said, “Anyone who visited this location during the identified times should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.”

The positive test comes a few weeks after an employee at Rivers Casino in New York tested positive for COVID earlier this month. Although the positive cases have been concerning, these have been the only ones reported from casinos since they have been reopening over the last few months.

Yellow Brick Road Casino is apart of Oneida Nation casinos in central New York. They operate three in the area and have been open since June when the coronavirus originally shut them down in early March.

New York Casino Precautions

New York tribal casinos reopened earlier this summer under strict social distancing guidelines. The tribes have been more fortunate than commercial casinos as tribes did not have to follow Gov. Cuomo’s executive order. However, tribal casinos still understood the severity of COVID-19 and put in policies to limit the spread.

Joel Barkin, a spokesman for the Oneida Nation, said the Yellow Brick Casino, like all of its properties “, have comprehensive and stringent health and safety protocols, including mandatory face covering for guests and employees.”

Oneida Nation put in effective protocols, which commercial casinos follow now as they could reopen on September 9.

Casinos are still limited to 25% capacity to help with social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing by customers and casino employees. Casinos have also spaced out slot machines and table games with plexiglass between each player to limit the spread of COVID.

Some have even gone on to replace air filtration systems, so cleaner air is going through the casinos to limit the spread.

New York was very strict about allowing casinos to reopen, especially the commercial casino. Tribal locations have been more fortunate, but with how severe the coronavirus was in the state, the precautions have been necessary.

Can Casinos Continue to Stay Open

So far, casinos have been fortunate not to see major outbreaks. Only only one casino employee has been reported to have tested positive for the virus.

New Jersey has seen similar numbers as well. Outside of Meadowlands Racetrack, Atlantic City and other gaming areas have been fortunate not to have major outbreaks. Meadowlands had an employee test positive, which resulted in the track’s closing for 11 days while other staff members were tested, and the place was disinfected.

As long as no major outbreaks happen, then casinos should be ok to operate. However, winter is coming and will be a concern with high infection rates of sickness during cold months. Some states are already seeing a second wave of COVID as we get deeper into fall, and New York could be on the same path.

For now, a few COVID cases are not the end of the world, but there is still a concern about having a full blown outbreak at one of these locations. As long as casinos are doing everything to limit the spread of the virus, they will be fine through the winter.