NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Shopping malls reopened Wednesday in New York City, and gambling resumed at casinos across the state.
Of course, both have some big changes.
New York City malls can open at 50% capacity, and New York State casinos at 25% — under the condition they have enhanced air filtration systems in place.
It’s a jackpot day for one of the biggest tax generators in the state.
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Resorts World New York City in Jamaica, Queens had been closed for almost six months.
The line was so long 90 minutes before the scheduled opening, Resorts World got the OK from Albany to open early. Gamblers were ready to lay their money down, reported CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
“The mood is to come in here and win some money today. I miss the casino. This is my stomping grounds right here, from day one they opened,” said Canarsie resident Rose Walker.
Earlier, the Queens casino showed off extensive social distancing and safety measures. There’s clear plastic sheets separating some machines, and other are shut down to space players six feet apart.
New York State is limiting casinos to 25% of their approved capacity. Resorts World New York City is so huge, that’s still 4,000 gamblers spread out over three gaming floors.
Everyone entering the facility is automatically scanned to make sure they’re not running a fever.
“If you have a temperature of 100.4, you’ll be asked to leave,” said Chief Marketing Officer Darlene Monzo.
Monzo says it’s all about safety for guests and employees, 1,000 of them furloughed with health benefits but no paychecks for more than five months.
“Team members want to get back, and they’re ready to work,” Monzo said.
New York’s ready for some revenue – casinos were pumping $20 million into the education fund same time last year.
Jackie Glenn of Bensonhurst has been visiting casinos in Atlantic City – they opened 10 weeks ago.
“Slowly but surely we’re coming back to normal,” Glenn said. “As long as we’re able to get out and do something it’s really good.”
It looks like there was a pent up demand to place bets.
Watch John Dias’ report —
As CBS2’s John Dias reported, a line formed outside Kings Plaza shopping center two hours before it opened in Mill Basin, Brooklyn.
Decals reminded people to social distance, and face coverings were a must.
“I definitely missed the mall. I’m always here, always buying things,” shopper Alex Tacl, of Coney Island, told Dias.
— John Dias (@JohnBDias) September 9, 2020
“I think people will get out and shop, because we have the holidays coming,” said Hope Crishon, of Crown Heights.
Some, however, thought it may be too soon to reopen.
“The coronavirus is still in the air,” said one man.
As Dias reported, not every store was ready to welcome back customers. Some employees said they still have to add extra safety precautions, but they’re working to get that done.
“My store – Victoria’s Secret – they’re taking the extra effort just to make sure everybody’s safe and comfortable,” a Canarsie woman named Tayeshon said. “Hand sanitizer, enforcing six feet apart.”
Rashida Francis said her store – Zara – is scheduled to open Friday.
“We’re just getting everything prepared together, that’s why I’m here right now,” she said. “I feel safe going to work.”
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