New York State has been the hardest hit thus far when it comes to the coronavirus. It was an epicenter when it all started and businesses were shut down quickly months ago in order to slow the spread. Over the past few weeks, some businesses have started to reopen cautiously, but casinos and other gaming venues do not have a reopening date yet. Because of the uncertainty, gaming operators are being forced to layoff employees.
New Layoffs Coming
The Resorts World Catskills and sister site Aqueduct Racetrack will be laying off employees due to the continual closure. The Covid-19 restrictions in New York State are still tight and it is unclear as to when gaming venues will be back in action. In total, around 2,200 employees will be laid off between the two facilities.
A statement was issued early today confirming the unemployment notices being sent out to employees of both facilities. The notices were provided based on the federal WARN Act. This act requires employers to provide a notice in advance of a layoff that will last six months or more.
At the Catskills venue, 1,256 employees are being laid off. At the Aqueduct, 955 employees received notices. In a statement, Resorts World said that the many weeks of the shutdown has forced the company to make the difficult decision to furlough its employees.
The employees had already been laid off since mid-April, so the news was not welcome. While many worry about being infected with the virus, there is also a fear of being unemployed. The initial furloughs took place around a month after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the casinos to shut down as the virus was taking over the state.
The layoffs are expected to last for quite some time, and some could be permanent. The letter stated that the company does plan to bring back its workforce as soon as they are given the go-ahead to reopen.
The layoffs in New York are just a small portion of what is being seen across the US. Many casino operators are being forced to furlough their employees due to non-operation of casinos or slow business after reopening.
Tribal Casinos Reopen
While the commercial gaming venues in New York remain closed, the tribal operated venues are reopening. The tribal operators do not have to follow the same restrictions as the commercial properties.
The Turning Stone and other casinos operated by the Oneida Nation reopened on June 10. The Seneca Nation decided to open some venues in June and then some in July. They are requiring that guests and employees undergo temperature checks and wear face masks.
Unfortunately for the Seneca Nation, the tribe has already seen an employee test positive for the virus. The operator is actively addressing the information of the affected employee and following through with health, sanitization and social distancing plans.
The team of the casino remains in contact with the infected employee. They are instructing other employees who may have come in contact with the infected individual to be tested and seek medical care.