It’s beginning to look more and more like the US is finally starting to put COVID-19 in its rear-view mirror. As coronavirus vaccines continue to be rolled out and more is understood about how the virus is transmitted, outbreaks are being brought under control and economies are starting to be put back together. The latest to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is New York, where casinos and other businesses will begin to increase their capacity limits toward the middle of next month.
New York’s Casino Scene Gets a Boost
Per an announcement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday, it’s time to put the state back on track. He announced that capacity limits for many commercial markets will be raised next month, with large outdoor stadiums and performing art venues increasing from 20% to 33%. That will happen as of May 19, four days after gyms and fitness centers – as long as they’re outside New York City’s borders – will be able to increase their capacities from 33% to 50%.
The same day that the state’s fitness centers are able to bump up their numbers, so will New York’s casinos. They have been operating at 25% during much of the global COVID-19 pandemic but, starting on May 15, will be able to increase the limit to 50%. Only commercial offices will see the biggest increase, now being able to return to 75% of their normal capacity at the same time as the other establishments.
Return to Full Operations Possible By This Summer
Governor Cuomo’s announcement follows on the heels of a similar one made for many of Nevada’s casinos this week. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has kept a tight leash on the state’s gaming industry during the COVID-19 debacle but just handed over control to individual counties. However, whereas New York casinos are going just to 50%, most Nevada casinos will be at 80% by the beginning of May.
New York’s return, just like that of Nevada, comes amid increased COVID-19 vaccinations. Holding a press conference from the New York State Fairgrounds, Governor Cuomo explained, “If you tell me what the positivity rate is doing, you tell me what the vaccination rate is doing, then I can tell you what the rate of reopening is. And as our positivity is coming down and our vaccination is going up, you’re going to see more reopening. The arrows are all pointed in the right direction. We just have to keep the arrows pointed in the right (direction). That is a function of what we do.”
Choosing the fairgrounds to make the announcement wasn’t accidental. In addition to the increases in capacities across the state, New York will hold the New York State Fair at the location this year after having been forced to cancel it last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The fair will run from August 20 through September 6.