Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced casinos and video lottery terminal facilities will be allowed to reopen starting September 9 with a 25 percent occupancy limit. All venues that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including strict 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. Casinos must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards in place in order to open. 

“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.”

Casinos must leave six feet of distance between operating machines. No table games will be allowed unless and until casinos put in place physical barriers between players and the Gaming Commission approves those barriers. No beverage or food service will be allowed on the gaming floor. The State Gaming Commission will be deployed to monitor casinos and ensure strict enforcement of these measures.

Update on Coronavirus in NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo also updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov. 

“From day one, New Yorkers have come together to defeat COVID, changing their behaviors, wearing masks, washing their hands often and socially distancing. New York has gone 27 straight days with an infection rate below one percent, even as we continued to reopen, which is no easy feat,” Governor Cuomo said. “Overall, our numbers are good news – but even as our numbers remain stable, we cannot become complacent. We have to stay vigilant. We have come this far together, and we will get to the other side of this nightmare together, as long as we stay New York tough.”

Western NY SWAT Team Testing Effort

The Governor also announced the results of the State’s testing SWAT Team’s focused testing effort in Western New York over the past five days. A total of 6,385 tests were performed at the 8 sites with results delivered in 15 minutes. A total of 266 positive cases were identified, for a positivity rate of 4.1%. Contact tracing efforts in partnership with local health departments are ongoing.  

The results include:

  • City of Buffalo: 5.9% 
  • Chautauqua County: 4.5%
  • Niagara County: 2.8%
  • Erie County not including City of Buffalo: 2.3%

To ensure continued availability of rapid result testing over the next weeks throughout Western New York, Governor Cuomo directed the State Department of Health to lend for use over the next weeks 20 rapid result testing machines to local health departments in WNY, and provide each department with an initial allotment of test kits, enabling more than 8,500 additional rapid tests to be administered over the next weeks. The test results are delivered in 15 minutes, allowing contact tracing efforts to begin immediately. 

The machines will be distributed on loan from NYS DOH as follows to support continued focused testing efforts over next several weeks:

  • Cattaraugus: 750 tests, 3 rapid result testing machines 
  • Allegany: 500 tests, 2 rapid result testing machines 
  • Niagara: 2,250 tests, 5 rapid result testing machines 
  • Chautauqua: 1,000 tests, 4 rapid result testing machines 
  • Erie: 4,000 tests, 6 rapid result testing machines 

The Governor also reminded Western New York residents that there are 86 existing testing sites currently operating in Western New York where COVID testing can be scheduled. The sites are listed at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you

  • Allegany: 8 testing sites
  • Cattaraugus: 5 testing sites
  • Chautauqua: 7 testing sites
  • Erie: 51 testing sites
  • Niagara: 15 testing sites

SLA Violations 

Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 898 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed 7 establishments that were not in compliance with state requirements. A county breakdown of yesterday’s observed violations is below: 

  • Brooklyn – 2 
  • Manhattan – 1 
  • Suffolk – 4

Today’s Numbers

Today’s data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Patient Hospitalization – 430 (-15)
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 81
  • Hospital Counties – 32
  • Number ICU – 117 (+0)
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 61 (+0)
  • Total Discharges – 75,255 (+52)
  • Deaths – 7
  • Total Deaths – 25,343

Of the 88,981 test results reported to New York State yesterday, 889, or 0.99 percent, were positive. The Governor also confirmed 889 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 437,107 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 437,107 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, there were 319 cases in Herkimer County with 10 deaths.