Shut back in mid-March in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino is reopening tomorrow. But the casino floor will look differently since the venue implemented strict health and safety protocols.
Shut for 5 Months, Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Reopens on August 31
The largest employer in the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation – the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in Hogansburg, New York will reopen its doors next week. On Monday, August 31, 9 am, the venue will reopen its doors for visitors. The large casino resort was closed back in mid-March following an order issued by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. Although the resort suffered losses in thousands of dollars for the time it was closed, the venue hopes it will recover the lost revenue in the upcoming 4 months until the end of the year.
Cited by WCAX, here is what Todd Papineau, the general manager of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort said: “The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe-Akwesasne owns and operates this casino. It is here for generating revenues. Really it’s under their authority that we operate.” He added that the resort is still concerned about the level of business which it will face and that is why the venue is “making sure that our workforce fits our business levels“.
Looking back a few months, the resort faced the difficult decision to lay off a significant number of its employees. More than 700 employees were laid off out of a total workforce of 800. On that subject, Papineau said: “There is a lot of people that rely on this for their livelihood and the tribal government also relies on the revenues here for many other programs they run.” He did not miss to say that with more amenities reopening within the resort, more employees will be able to return to work.
The Casino Will Operate under Strict Health and Safety Protocols
Similar to other venues which reopened in the COVID-19 environment, the tribal casino also implemented strict health and safety protocols. Once it reopens doors on Monday, visitors of the Akwesasne Mohawk casino will undoubtedly notice the differences from the entrance. To start with, punters will only be allowed to enter the casino with a mask. Once they walk in, visitors will be asked screening questions and also have their temperature taken by a machine. However, since masks are mandatory, the machine will not work, unless the visitor is wearing a mask.
The casino floor will look different as some machines were disabled in order to ensure six feet distance between punters. Moreover, the casino will not offer table top games or bingo. Smoking or drinking will be prohibited on the casino floors. Commenting on the restrictions, Papineau said: “These are some of the things that we are putting in place to protect you and our associates and most importantly the community of Akwesasne.“
The Housekeeping Staff Will Play a Vital Role
Although the casino’s capacity is 5,000, starting from Monday the total capacity will be limited to 750 visitors. Besides the listed restrictions, the venue will also operate under strict cleaning and sanitization protocols. Charlotte LaFrance, the director of hotel operations said that every gaming machine will be sanitized after a player withdraws their gaming card. Once the gaming card is withdrawn, this is when the cleaning team is notified to disinfect the machine.
The venue also said that it will implement cleaning with an electronic spray system. According to LaFrance: “The electrostatic spray system covers every surface, 360 degrees.” She also said that the housekeeping staff plays a vital role. “It is imperative that we keep our property sanitized, disinfected and cleaned for our guests to use,” added LaFrance. Similar to other venues operating in the COVID-19 environment, any visitors not complying with the rules will be asked to leave the venue.