Furious that they are still being left in the dark about when they can work again, commercial New York casino workers intend to rally in Albany this week.
The rally will take place on Thursday August 20th, with employees hoping that they can get Governor Andrew Cuomo to reconsider his indefinite shutdown of commercial casinos.
Commercial venues have been shut since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite other businesses such as shopping malls being allowed to reopen.
No date has yet been given as to when casinos in New York are allowed to reopen.
“We need to work”
Most of New York’s casinos are owned by tribal operators, with the majority of these choosing to reopen. But employees at commercial casinos are still out of work for the time being, with no indication as to when that will change.
This week’s rally was organized by Tioga Downs Casino and Resort Hotel and Front Desk Manager Robin Torr, in addition to Valerie McIntyre – Table Games Supervisor at the Del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County. Vernon Downs Assistant Hotel Manager and Cage Operations Manager Greg Mallette also helped them to put together the event.
The Facebook group that the trio made currently has over 800 members. Meanwhile, more than 2,400 people have signed their petition urging Cuomo to reopen state casinos.
McIntyre spoke to The Citizen on Monday, when she said the following.
“We need to work.
“We don’t want to keep collecting your unemployment. Let us earn what we deserve. We are ready to go back to work.”
Mallette also added his thoughts. He criticized the state’s government for not providing any sort of timeline as to when they may be allowed to return to work. On top of this, he had the following to say.
“I put the roof over the heads of two kids. I put food in their stomach.
“To tell me that I’m not essential, well guess what? I am essential to them.”
COVID-19 in New York
A number of businesses in New York will be allowed to reopen from August 24th, if the Governor believes it’s safe to do so. This includes fitness centers. Last week, bowling alleys were allowed to begin welcoming back customers.
Recently, Cuomo was questioned about his decision to keep casinos closed. He said that he chose to reopen shopping centers because “people need food, people need clothes, people need home goods”. He also said that “you don’t need a casino to maintain survival”.
New York has reported 435,000 COVID-19 cases in total, though it’s well past the peak that it endured towards the beginning of the pandemic. California is currently the worst-hit US state in terms of total cases, with 635,000 in total.
Commercial casinos in the Empire State currently employ around 5,200 people.