Empire CityCasino in Yonkers reopened Sept. 21, 2020 after being closed since March due to the coronavirus shutdown.
Rockland/Westchester Journal News
Empire City Casino reopened today, about six months after the Yonkers gambling hub was forced to shut down because of the coronavirus.
Empire City’s doors reopeneed at 10 a.m. as it became the state’s latest casino to resume operations after the pandemic. The casino can only operate at 25% capacity, in accordance with state guidelines.
The casino, owned by MGM Resorts, will operate under stringent modifications, including requiring all guests to wear masks, according to a reopening plan posted on its website. Patrons will also need to complete a health screening and have a temperature check before entry.
Valet service and bar service won’t be available and some machines won’t be available to ensure social distancing.
Live racing at Yonkers Raceway on the casino property resumed in June. Spectators are still prohibited from races and no on-site waging is allowed.
Ed Domingo, Empire City Casino SVP Operations and CFO on the gaming floor on the first day of the reopening of the casino Sept. 21, 2020. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)
Hand sanitizer dispensers and washing stations are located throughout the casino as are disinfecting wipes.
Empire City Casino Senior Vice President of Operations and CFO Ed Domingo called it an “unbelievable” feeling to have staff members and customers back. The top priority for the casino is to keep everyone healthy, he said.
“It was a long time coming here in Yonkers and Westchester County,” Domingo said.
Evelyn Garcia, of The Bronx, was one of the customers who came back Monday.
“I’ve been locked up for six months,” she said.
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The casino, which is the largest private employer in Yonkers, furloughed about 1,000 workers in May as the virus kept Empire City’s doors closed.
MGM CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle in a May 5 letter called the furloughs “the most challenging period ever faced by our company and industry” and said he was unsure how many employees would return before the end of the year.
Evelyn Garcia of The Bronx plays a slot machine on the first day of the reopening of the Empire City Casino in Yonkers Sept. 21, 2020. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)
The company has welcomed back more than half if its workforce for the reopening, a spokesperson told The Journal News/lohud.
MGM Resorts bought Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway in early 2019 for $850 million.
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