ALBANY — Casinos can open next week, offering some hope to local budgets.
Washington County budgeted to receive $400,000 from Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady this year, based on the casino’s profits. But the casino paid out $95,000 for the first quarter, and nothing since. Now, budget officer and Hebron Supervisor Brian Campbell has hope that the casino will help with the last quarter of the year.
“You could expect another $95,000,” he said. “Any little bit would help, anything to help close the gap.”
Saratoga County receives a cut from Rivers and from the Saratoga Casino & Raceway in Saratoga Springs.
However, representatives for both casinos said they are not sure exactly when they will reopen. They advised gamblers to check their websites and social media for updates.
They can open Wednesday, with restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a conference call Thursday.
They must have “enhanced ventilation,” he said, referring to the MERV 13 filters that can be installed in newer HVAC systems. Those filters are believed to pull coronavirus out of the air.
Casinos cannot offer beverage service at table games and everyone must wear masks and keep a six foot distance. Maximum capacity will be limited to 25%.
The reopening could reduce unemployment. Rivers Casino laid off 1,000 workers as the shutdown continued this summer.
On schools, Cuomo said every school district must have a testing regimen and must send the results and the number of tests to the state every day. That data will be posted online by the state “as soon as we get it,” Cuomo said.
“I hope this will give parents and teachers some confidence that the plans are being implemented. And if they aren’t being implemented, it’s better to know soon,” he said.
Cuomo also said malls in New York City can open, but that indoor dining in New York City cannot, saying that he did not have enough state police to enforce the rules at all the city restaurants.