VERONA — The Oneida Indian Nation, the first upstate casino operator to announce the temporary closure of its gaming venues this past March, is announcing plans to begin phasing in hospitality and gaming operations at its New York properties on Wednesday, June 10.
Oneida Indian Nation officials said its reopening health and safety plan, titled “Safer Together,” adopts the best practices from gaming and hospitality venues throughout the world, and incorporates input from regional partners, including neighboring municipalities.
The selection of the June 10 date follows the Oneida Indian Nation’s careful monitoring of the reopening of businesses in Central New York, Nation officials said, and was based with specific attention to the metrics reported by the state and local counties on a daily basis.
“The comprehensive plan we have developed for the limited reopening of our operations is based on guidelines and input from public health experts to make certain that — as always — our policies prioritize the health and safety of our employees, guests and the broader community,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter.
“We are grateful to Oneida and Madison County leadership for their ongoing coordination through this process as we work to reopen our operations and bring back our employees in the safest way possible,” Halbritter added.
The plan provides a blueprint to resume operations at Turning Stone Resort Casino, Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango and Point Place Casino in Bridgeport under the conditions of sweeping measures designed to uphold the highest standards of public health.
As outlined in “Safer Together,” the Oneida Indian Nation is introducing a wide range of newly added health measures, including:
To support public efforts to limit the spread among regions, access to facilities will be limited to guests who travel from within 120 miles, and an identification verification will be deployed to aid contact tracing if it becomes necessary.
There will be no concerts/shows in the Showroom or Event Center until mass gatherings can be offered without undue risk.
Mandatory face coverings for employees, guests, vendors, and the public—wherever feasible throughout our facilities.
Gloves required for all employees who are working in direct contact with guests, including in all restaurants, at registration desks, and on the gaming floors.
Daily non-invasive thermal temperature checks of every employee entering the workplace and brief survey questions to identify potential exposure to coronavirus.
All restaurants and bars will have at least six feet of separation between tables. Buffets or other self-service food options will remain closed, and there will be no self-service food in any of the Players’ Lounges or banquet rooms.
There will be enhanced cleaning across all enterprises.
“I have closely reviewed the detailed reopening plan put together by the Oneida Indian Nation and found it to be thorough and measured,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr..
“What the Nation has proposed, prioritizes safety first for all visitors and employees along with the need to reopen the local economy for the benefit of all Oneida County residents.”
Madison County Chairman John Becker also expressed support for the Oneida Indian Nation’s robust plan for reopening operations, saying “It is time to get our community back to work and reopened. Madison County is currently in Phase 1 of reopening.”
“As long as a business has a plan in place to ensure the safety of its employees as well as their patrons, that business should be allowed to reopen. The Oneida Indian Nation businesses are important to our local economy. Many of their employees have been out of work for months, and it is time to get those individuals back to work so they can get back on their feet,” the county chairman said.
“I have faith that the Oneida Indian Nation has the safety and health of its employees and patrons as their top priority as they get ready to open their doors,” Becker added.