New York Casinos Reopen with Limited Capacity

New York Casinos Reopen with Limited Capacity

File Photo

Resorts World NYC boasts a 21-point pandemic safety plan.

By Michael V. Cusenza

Casinos and video lottery terminals—including Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park—reopened Wednesday with a 25 percent occupancy limit.

According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all venues that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including enforcement of face coverings except when eating or drinking, social distancing, additional staff to control occupancy, traffic flow and seating to avoid crowding, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. Casinos must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to open.

Additionally, casinos must leave six feet of distance between operating machines. No table games will be allowed unless and until casinos put in place physical barriers between players and the Gaming Commission approves those barriers. No beverage or food service will be allowed on the gaming floor. The State Gaming Commission will be deployed to monitor casinos and ensure strict enforcement of these measures, Cuomo noted.

“New Yorkers have done an extraordinary job—we flattened the curve in a way that no expert thought was possible,” Cuomo said. “We’ve made the determination that we can safely reopen casinos with enhanced air filtration and strict safety protocols including mandatory masks and social distancing. This is good news and the right next step in our data-driven, phased reopening which is working.”

Area elected officials recently toured the Resorts World NYC facility to review the new health and safety measures the casino put in place. During the tour, casino officials detailed RWNYC’s 21-point safety plan. All Resorts World team members will receive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols. They will all have to wear masks and will go through thermal screenings to ensure no one has a temperature of 100.4 or higher. Staffers will also be required to fill out a daily health screening each day prior to entering the property.

Throughout the facility, Resorts World has upgraded all air HVAC filters to MERV 15, the hospital inpatient care standard, to ensure that all airborne contaminants are contained and filtered out of the building. There will be “healthy messaging” in the form of digital traffic signage in all parts of the building, reminding guests to wear a mask, wash their hands and maintain social distancing.

When guests enter, they will be required to pass through a thermal screening. Any guest that posts a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be asked to step aside for a cool down period and will have their temperature taken again the confirm the results. If the individual still posts a high temperature, they will be asked to leave. Density counters have been installed to monitor how many people enter and exit the casino, so that Resorts World can adhere to required capacity guidelines.

“I appreciate all of the changes Resorts World has made to their facility to protect their staff and guests in preparation of their reopening,” State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, said. “This is a big day for the casino, and I fully believe they will be able to face all the challenges ahead and keep their staff and customers safe as they begin to reopen.”


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