Casino workers rally at Capitol, urging New York to allow them to reopen


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York-based casino workers rallied in Albany, urging Gov. Cuomo to allow them to reopen.

There is no timetable for when commercial casinos can reopen in the state. Some tribal casinos, however, have been allowed to continue operations. In Central New York, for example, Oneida Indian Nation’s three locations have opened up on a limited basis.

Gov. Cuomo explained in a briefing back in May that tribal nations aren’t bound by state laws, while commercial facilities, like Rivers Casino in Schenectady, have to abide by the opening and closing guidelines from his administration.

Casinos were among the industries like gyms, movie theatres, and concert venues that were not included in phase four guidance for low-risk indoor entertainment, that have to wait for a separate green light from the state to reopen.

Some of those industries, most recently gyms and bowling alleys, found success after business owners and elected officials pleaded for permission from the State. Gov. Cuomo said that the decision to allow them to reopen comes because of New York’s low infection rate.

Gov. Cuomo expressed concern back in May about the logistics of safely operating casinos during the pandemic.

“Casinos are, by definition, a large gathering spot,” the Governor said at his briefing on May 20, “a lot of people touching equipment, and then someone else touches the equipment, so it poses real challenges.”

 Organizers of Thursday’s rally say around 5,200 casino employees have been out of work since they closed in mid-March.

The rally started at 11 a.m. Thursday outside the State Capitol building.

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