New York casinos have been given the statewide green-light to re-open facilities this month, however health and safety measures must be in place and a warning has been issued that strict monitoring will be in place.

The return to action was announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who confirmed that casinos and malls, among the last remaining businesses awaiting approval to reopen, would be permitted to resume activities from Wednesday 9 September.

However, strict protocols must be in place, with casinos and video lottery terminal facilities mandated to impose a 25 per cent occupancy limit. 

All venues that choose to reopen will also be subject to a number of further orders, 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. 

Furthermore, casino properties must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to open, and no food or beverage service will be permitted on gaming floors. 

Cuomo also issued directives that state casinos must leave six feet of distance between operating machines, with table games having to remain shutdown unless venues can install physical barriers between players. These must also gain approval from the New York State Gaming Commission.

“New Yorkers have done an extraordinary job – we flattened the curve in a way that no expert thought was possible,” Governor 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.”

The state Gaming Commission will also be deployed to monitor casinos and ensure strict enforcement of these measures.

The NYS Gaming Commission regulates all aspects of gaming activity in the state, including horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering, class III Indian gaming, the state lottery (including video lottery terminals), commercial and charitable gaming.