Following last week’s announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo allowing casinos to reopen doors from September 9, Empire Casino in New York set its reopening date for September 21. The venue will reopen its doors following strict health and safety protocols and reduced capacity.
September 21 Marks the Reopening Date of Empire City
The Empire City Casino in New York, owned and operated by MGM Resorts International will reopen its doors on Monday, September 21. Operating in the COVID-19 environment, the venue will reopen its doors with limited capacity. MGM’s property will reopen its doors while following strict guidelines for health and safety operations. To ensure the health and safety of both visitors and employees, Empire Casino will follow MGM’s “Seven-Point Safety Plan“. Wearing of masks will be mandatory for both employees and visitors. The operator will also conduct temperature screening and employees will go through COVID-19 training.
There will be an increased number of handwashing stations available for the visitors. The high traffic areas and touchable surfaces will be frequently cleaned and disinfected. Furthermore, the venue will introduce several contactless solutions such as digital menus and more. Social distancing will be introduced by disabling some of the gaming machines and installing plexiglass spacers. But not all amenities at the Empire Casino will be available from its reopening. Valet parking will not be available for guests and the bars will also remain shut.
The Shutdown of Casinos Introduced Due to the Pandemic
Casinos across the U.S. were ordered to shut down back in mid-March to reduce the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19. New York wasn’t missed by both the pandemic and the closures. The shut doors of casinos for a few months led to thousands of furloughed employees. With the missing income, many operators struggled to keep their workforce. Just recently, back in August, MGM parted ways with 18,000 previously furloughed employees.
By carefully examining the results of COVID-19 cases, each state reopened its casinos at different times. But only last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed the casinos to reopen on September 9, ending the six-month shutdown of casinos. Given that Empire Casino will reopen on September 21, this leaves MGM with only one property which is yet to reopen doors – Park MGM on Las Vegas Strip. But according to the local news outlet News 3 LV, Park MGM will be reopening sometime in October.
In a statement, MGM Resorts president and chief executive Bill Hornbuckle commented on the reopening of Empire Casino. He deemed the time of closure as an “unimaginably difficult and challenging time” and thanked all essential and healthcare workers for helping the community. “It’s been several months since we were forced to close, so it is with strong emotion that we welcome our team members back to work,” said Hornbuckle. In conclusion, he reassured that the health and safety of visitors and guests remain MGM’s top priority.