New York casinos permitted to return to full capacity with restrictions lifted

Casinos across New York are permitted to return to 100 per cent capacity, after Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted with immediate effect.

This comes as 70 per cent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series, which the state says has seen the rate of cases plummet.

The state’s health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines, including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing, are now optional among commercial settings. 

Unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. The state’s health guidelines also continue to be in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transport, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings.

“What New York has done is extraordinary. Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70 per cent vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation,” Cuomo said. 

“We led with nurse Sandra Lindsay, who was the first at Northwell to take that vaccine and to assure people it was safe. We’ve gone on to do more than 20 million vaccines, more per capita than any big state in the United States of America. 

“Congratulations to New Yorkers because they are the ones who did it. We’re no longer just surviving – we’re thriving. The state mandates that have proven right and brought us through this pandemic are relaxed as of today, effective immediately.”

With the removal of the state’s minimum standard for reopening, businesses are free to choose to lift all or some restrictions, continue to adhere to the archived guidance, or implement other health precautions for their employees and patrons.

Rivers Casino Schenectady has confirmed its move back to 100 per cent capacity, after having operated at a reduced capacity of between 25 and 50 per cent since reopening in September of 2020.

It also confirms that all plexiglass safety barriers have been removed from slot machines and table games, with masks still required for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated, and optional for guests who are.

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