New York State Casinos Limit Restaurant and Bar Hours Under New Directive

Posted on: November 12, 2020, 03:17h. 

Last updated on: November 12, 2020, 03:32h.

Bars and restaurants at New York State casinos are required to close at 10 pm every night under new COVID-19 restrictions.

Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), seen here, gestures during a recent media briefing. Cuomo this week announced restrictions on bar and restaurant operating hours statewide. (Image: CNBC)

Faced with rising coronavirus cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said this week that bars, restaurants, and gyms statewide are required to close “in-person” service from 10 pm to 5 am daily. These closures are effective on Friday, Nov. 13.

The closures also apply to these services at commercial casinos and racetracks, said Michael Kane, president and executive director of the New York Gaming Association.

The Empire State is home to four full commercial casinos and eight racetracks, known as “racinos,” that only offer video gaming.

Kane told on Thursday that Cuomo’s announcement had no additional impact on casinos, other than the limited hours for restaurants and bars.

Across the state, bars and restaurants are required to clear customers out by 10 pm, according to the New York Post. The kitchen at these places can remain open for takeout and delivery.

In New York City alone, the average positivity rate for coronavirus tests over the last seven days rose to 2.52 percent — the highest rate since June 9, the newspaper reported.

Cuomo said during a Veterans Day media briefing that if these new measures fail to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the state might implement tighter restrictions. This would include prohibiting all indoor dining.

At the media briefing on Wednesday, Cuomo did not mention any plans to close casinos again.

Six-Month Lockdown

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, Cuomo ordered “nonessential” businesses, including casinos, to close.

The governor gradually allowed some businesses to reopen. However, he kept casinos closed during the summer. State health officials were concerned about large numbers of people clustered together in a confined space.

After a six-month lockdown, Cuomo allowed casinos to reopen Sept. 9 at 25 percent capacity. He required other safety measures, including mandatory masks for employees and customers. Physical barriers, such as plexiglass walls, are required at table games.

The casinos and tracks began reopening throughout September. Some needed additional time beyond Sept. 9 to train employees and install safety requirements. Empire City, a harness track in Yonkers, was the last resort to reopen. It began operating again Sept. 21. Yonkers is just north of the Bronx, a New York City borough.

New Jersey Closures

Also this week, New Jersey Gov. Phi Murphy (D) implemented bar and restaurant restrictions to curb an increase in COVID-19 infections in the Garden State.

Murphy’s directive prohibits indoor dining between 10 pm and 5 am at restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges. Casinos are required to stop serving food and drinks at 10 pm, he said in a tweet.

The governor said on CNBC this week the state is “tweaking our parameters at the edges” to suppress the coronavirus.

“They won’t come close to what we were doing in the spring,” he said. “This is not a lockdown.”