MONTICELLO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is breaking from his fellow leaders in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts when it comes to reopening casinos.
The casino in the Catskills is ready, but the governor is not showing his hand.
The 2020 wheel of misfortune stopped at Resorts World Catskills in mid-March. Millions in gaming tax revenue vanished along with the customers and 1,200 workers were furloughed.
“We have been paying the health insurance for all of our employees that have been furloughed, and our intention is to welcome all of our employees back just as soon as we can reopen the property here in the Catskills,” said Meghan Taylor, at Resorts World Catskills.
Five months later, extensive precautions are in place for whenever the Cuomo administration gives the OK.
Safety messaging begins outside the billion-dollar building. When you enter, high-tech equipment will see if you have a high temperature. If a forehead scan confirms, you’ll be asked to leave.
“We have to be providing safety for our team members and our guests,” said Darlene Monzo, with Resorts World Catskills.
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Plastic dividers will separate dealers and players. Many slot machines will be shut down to promote social distancing. The casino will provide a stylus for anyone who doesn’t want to touch the sanitized buttons.
The extensive safety plan calls for fewer players and frequent sanitizing of dice at the craps table.
Dining and check-in have been redesigned for contactless commerce.
The HVAC system only delivers fresh air, but the casino has added coronavirus-capturing filters anyway.
“I think they’ve gone far and above any other facility out there that I’ve seen, retail or otherwise,” Thompson Town Supervisor Bill Rieber told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
Rieber says the casino is a key piece of revitalizing the region.
With gambling safely underway in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, Rieber hopes New York is next.
“I really, really think the governor should open his eyes, have some people take a look at it and get this place open as soon as they can,” he said.
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There are four casinos open and operating in New York state. They’re on Native American reservations, beyond the reach of the Cuomo administration.
The governor is playing his cards carefully, saying he doesn’t want to gamble with people’s health.
“As we’ve continued to get a better handle and stabilize those COVID-19 numbers and new infection rates here in New York, we do believe we’re in a safe place to reopen,” Taylor said.
Until then, casinos in four neighboring states are cleaning up, collecting gaming revenue from visiting New Yorkers.
Video gaming casinos closer to the city, including Resorts World Queens and Jake’s 58, are also preparing extensive safety measures, hoping to reopen soon.
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