Resorts World Catskills is tired of waiting to reopen, and they’re letting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo know it.
Although the casino remains shuttered, it has released its official safety protocols in hopes of speeding up the reopening process for commercial casinos in the state.
Casino hopes public campaign will convince governor
The casino has spent the last couple weeks publicizing the safety measures enacted to protect returning patrons as much as possible.
From Twitter posts to media tours, Resorts World Catskills has highlighted its many efforts:
- Sanitizing stations
- New filtration system
- Body temperature scanner
- Plexiglass barriers at gaming tables, slots
- Restaurant partitions
The message is clear: we are ready to open, and we can do it safely.
Cuomo isn’t ready to crack.
The governor has made clear his belief that casinos are not essential businesses and not necessary for “survival.”
Casino operators have bristled at his position. Joining them in the waiting game are:
New York casinos are losing business to neighboring states, they believe.
Also causing frustration is the fact tribal casinos in the state have been open for weeks without evidence of COVID-19 outbreaks.
“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,” Thompson Town Supervisor Bill Rieber said.
Others inside the casino say the stabilization of COVID-19 cases in New York, combined with Resorts World Catskills’ protective measures, make reopening a safe prospect.
And they aren’t alone in developing a strict reopening plan. Other commercial casinos in New York have developed very similar reopening guidelines.
New York more strict than others in region
Cuomo threw cold water on New York casinos as recently as last week.
“A shopping center – people need food, people need clothes, people need home goods,” he said on a conference call.
“You don’t need a casino to maintain survival.”
He later acknowledged that while casino workers need jobs, his decision came down to “the essential nature and then the risk posed by the business.” Those comments have received pushback from casino workers.
But that risk hasn’t born itself out at other sites in the northeast.
Officials in Massachusetts, for instance, are considering loosening restrictions because of the high compliance with safety measures exhibited by staff and patrons.
Plus, the measures enforced by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission are not stricter than what is being voluntarily adopted by Resorts World Catskills.
The casino has reportedly spent more than $1 million on measures that also include 20-hour days to allow four hours for cleaning and plastic poker cards conducive to sanitization.
Upon opening, Resorts World Catskills has said it will also limit its entertainment, hotel and dining spaces. But no one is more eager for the casino to reopen than its employees.
While Resorts World Catskills has continued health benefits, more workers have been furloughed.
They are far from alone, as more than 4,100 casino workers in New York have received WARN notices preparing them for potential long layoffs.
The ball remains in Cuomo’s court.