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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered commercial casinos in the state to remain shut, despite a sustained drop in cases. 

Venues in the state have been closed for four-and-a-half months, dating back to March 16th. 

While commercial casinos aren’t allowed to welcome customers back yet, Native American-owned venues have already been doing so for a couple of months. 

Thousands of jobs are currently at risk, with casino staff continuing to be furloughed as a result of the lack of action. 

Casinos not deemed by the Governor to be an essential business 

Last week, Cuomo commissioned the reopening of shopping centers and malls in the Empire State. This prompted questions as to why these places were allowed to welcome back customers, but casinos couldn’t.

Cuomo answered those questions with the below. 

“A shopping center, people need food, people need clothes, people need home goods.

“You don’t need a casino to maintain survival.” 

When will commercial casinos reopen in New York?

To put it simply, nobody knows at the moment. The four venues still closed are del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, Resorts World Catskills, Tioga Downs Casino Resort and Schenectady’s Rivers Casino.

del Lago Resort & Casino Executive and Vice President Lance Young told The Citizen a few weeks back that his venue was already preparing by putting together safety measures. Titled ‘Extra Care’, casino floor capacity would be limited and social distancing would be enabled and enforced through making adjustments to accommodate this. 

Other measures would have been screening for employees and patrons alike before entering the venue, as well as supplying face masks. 

He said: “We’re ready to reopen when the data and science says that we can and we’ll continue to work with state officials. 

“Hopefully we’ll be open soon.” 

Judging by Cuomo’s thoughts, however, it doesn’t like this will be the case in the near future. 

Tribal casinos already operating again, as are the majority of venues across the US 

Native American casinos in New York operate by different rules. However, these have been closely aligned with official state guidelines for the most part. Because they aren’t subjected to the same rules as commercial casinos, they have been able to reopen already. 

Since June, the Oneida Nation has reopened its Point Place, Yellow Brick and Turning Stone venues – plus others. 

Across the US, most casinos have reopened their doors. This is despite the country continuing to be one of the worst-hit by COVID-19. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), only 147 of the US’ 990 commercial and tribal casinos are still closed. 

COVID-19 in New York 

New York was, along with nearby New Jersey, one of the worst-affected states at the beginning of the pandemic. However, it has since managed to get the situation under control. 

The Governor released an update on Monday, which mentioned that hospitalizations had dropped to their lowest level since March 17th. But in spite of the progress made so far, he stressed the need to remain alert. 

“Look at what’s going on across the country, look at those increases, look at the number of states included in our travel advisory, and look at incidents of lack of compliance. 

“The numbers are a result of New Yorkers’ actions – we have been disciplined and we have to stay disciplined. In terms of enforcement, local governments have to do a better job. We’re doing everything we can on the state side.”

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