NY’s Akwesasne Mohawk Casino reopens

The original July reopening date was pushed back due to a spike in local coronavirus cases.
The original July reopening date was pushed back due to a spike in local coronavirus cases.

Akwesasne Mohawk Casino reopens today with strict sanitary measures in place.

US- Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in Hogansburg, New York, reopens today following more than five months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, closed the casino on March 15. It’s the last tribal casino in New York state to reopen, after the original opening date set for July was pushed back due to a rise in Covid-19 cases.

The casino opens at 9am with a range of health measures in place, including obligatory use of masks. Smoking and drinking will be prohibited within casino areas.

The large casino resort’s usual 5,000 capacity will be limited to 750 customers at a time, and the number of machines has been reduced to allow for greater distancing. There will be no table games or bingo.

The casino laid off more than 700 of its 800 employees during lockdown, but advised that it would welcome more employees back once it is able to reopen more parts of the resort.

Speaking to WCAX, General Manager Todd Papineau said: “Once we get rolling along, maybe four or six, eight weeks later, we will start to revisit some of these prohibitions that we are opening with.

“It’s a huge impact that our closure had on the community. Many people work here and have worked here for a very long time.

“We are still concerned about the level of business that we will have, so we are making sure that our workforce fits our business levels.”

In news from last week, casino workers in New York took to the streets to protest the continued closures of non-sovereign properties.