New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state’s casinos will be permitted to reopen next week, having been closed for almost six months as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The state’s casinos, which closed their doors on 16 March due to Covid-19, will reopen from Wednesday 9 September, subject to strict safety protocols. The order applies to the state’s four commercial casinos and racetrack casinos.
They are among the last casinos in the US to reopen following the mass closures that swept the country in the wake of the pandemic.
All venues will be limited to 25% occupancy, while patrons will be required to wear masks at all times except when eating or drinking – with no beverage or food service on the gaming floor.
Initially only slots will be permitted, provided there is at least six feet between machines, and table games will only be allowed once physical barriers are put in place, and approved by the New York Gaming Commission.
The state regulator will also be deployed to monitor properties, and ensure all safety measures are followed to the letter.
Additional staff must be deployed to control occupancy, traffic flow and seating, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection controls must be implemented.
Casinos will also be required to have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place before they are permitted to reopen.
“New Yorkers have done an extraordinary job – we flattened the curve in a way that no expert thought was possible,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’ve made the determination that we can safely reopen casinos with enhanced air filtration and strict safety protocols including mandatory masks and social distancing.
“This is good news and the right next step in our data-driven, phased reopening which is working.”