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Vernon Downs owner reacts to state releasing reopening date for casinos

Casinos will be limited to 25% capacity. Table games will not be allowed until the casino puts physical barriers between the players and the Gaming Commission would have to approve of the physical barriers.

Posted: Sep 3, 2020 6:22 PM

WKTV - After nearly six months of an indefinite closure, due to the coronavirus pandemic, casinos in the state have been given the green light to reopen.

Governor Cuomo announced that casinos can open September 9.

This reopening guidance is for non-tribal casinos like Vernon Downs. Tribal casinos were allowed to open earlier this summer.

“It was a big relief,” said Jeff Gural, Owner of Vernon Downs. “We have a lot to do but we've been thinking about it. I'm not sure we're going to open on the ninth but it'll be next week sometime.”

Governor Cuomo says that table games will not be allowed until the casino puts some physical barriers between the players and the Gaming Commission would have to approve of the physical barriers. Currently none of the casinos in New York have them in place, according to the Governor.

Casinos will be limited to 25% capacity which will be managed at the door by security. There will have to be six feet between machines that are usable unless there's a physical barrier between machines.

The Gaming Commission will be the enforcement agency. State police also have jurisdiction over all casinos in the state.

Vernon Downs owner Jeff Gural says that shouldn't be an issue.

“Luckily Vernon has a pretty small place so it's pretty easy to operate safely there. Most of the time we only use maybe 25%, most of the time,” said Gural.

Late August, Vernon Downs’ furloughed employees held a rally calling on the Governor to give them guidance. Gural is thankful that they can now return to work.

“Very grateful that they did it. When they came to me with the idea I told him I thought it was a good idea because nobody likes to see people out of work. I'm going to test all of our employees over the next week or so. I'm going to add some additional air filtration equipment but we already change the filters,” said Gural.

Gural says he is also going to open the hotel with additional cleaning protocols.

The reopening benefits Vernon Downs Race Track's income which is mostly generated by slot machine revenue. Gural did announce that the race track is closing early for the season, towards the end of September, but hopes that business from the casino will help them stay open.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1212922

Reported Deaths: 40637
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens1515817782
Kings1485017994
Suffolk1225972545
Nassau1099842518
Bronx1015535243
Westchester819821774
New York727353419
Erie502271339
Richmond433221363
Monroe42774737
Rockland31061806
Orange27862642
Onondaga26544517
Oneida16110331
Dutchess15873290
Albany15520248
Niagara11534233
Broome10620248
Saratoga865376
Schenectady8183116
Ulster7337183
Rensselaer6454101
Putnam620370
Chemung5422107
Chautauqua522151
Oswego466462
Ontario452877
Steuben4444130
Cayuga419768
Sullivan371348
Wayne352750
Genesee350691
Herkimer342346
St. Lawrence332055
Cattaraugus325360
Madison298575
Jefferson294220
Cortland256352
Livingston256136
Tompkins252822
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Tioga212454
Montgomery206971
Wyoming198741
Clinton197713
Fulton193247
Greene192951
Warren192836
Orleans185167
Chenango165438
Otsego155921
Lewis138822
Washington138121
Seneca114445
Franklin10409
Delaware96516
Essex92916
Schoharie8515
Yates75816
Schuyler68410
Hamilton1431
Unassigned37108
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