Del Lago Employees Still Don’t Know If, Or When, They Will Return To Work

Posted on July 31, 2020 - Last Updated on August 24, 2020

As commercial casinos in New York approach five months of an uninterrupted shutdown, del Lago Resort & Casino employees are getting understandably worried about not only their present situations, but their futures as well.

The casino announced intentions to lay off over a thousand employees soon. Right now, doubts remain about how many of them will ever return to work at the facility.

The bad news for del Lago employees

Del Lago filed a WARN notice with the state on July 13. That’s a mandatory notice of an intent to lay off employees in the future. The state imposes such a measure to give workers time to prepare.

The casino can’t effect the layoffs for 60 days after the New York Labor Dept. posts the notice, which occurred on July 24. That means if nothing changes, 1,077 more of the casino’s employees will be without any income from the casino on Sept. 24.

The layoffs mean the loss of a paycheck and benefits. While many employees can continue the health coverage they have through the casino through COBRA, paying those exorbitant premiums amid the loss of income will be difficult.

Unfortunately for the affected individuals, it doesn’t look like the casino will reopen quickly. Casinos have submitted reopening plans to the state government for consideration. As of right now, however, there is no timeline.

Casino employees are doing what they can to move regulators toward giving the green light. That is part of the good news for del Lago workers right now.

A petition and a promise brings some good news

Del Lago employees have been circulating a petition among themselves aimed to convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give commercial casino operators in the state a go-ahead to resume operations. If that approval comes before Sept. 24, many of the jobs could be saved.

Del Lago General Manager Lance Young has stated the furloughed employees will be rehired when the casino resumes operations. Young didn’t commit to how much of the workforce would be immediately brought back, however.

There’s a reason for optimism around the country. In most states with brick-and-mortar casinos, those doors have reopened. The experience won’t go back to pre-COVID-19 standards for anyone, however.

When commercial casinos do open back up, it will likely be with several restrictions. These will probably include severe reductions in normal capacity and the continued shuttering of amenities like indoor dining.

Because the casino won’t go back to full strength overnight, it’s likely that del Lago will only bring back some of its workforce, at least to begin with. Regardless, reopening brings with it a hope to return to work soon.

Right now, the situation looks bleak for many in and around Waterloo. Hopefully, the situation will allow the resumption of some activity, and therefore a return to work for many of the affected people.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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