SALAMANCA — The Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino in Salamanca and other gaming operations and resorts will begin to reopen next month.
Employees and guests will all be required to wear face masks — and have their temperature taken — to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Gaming operations and hotels closed on March 16 due to coronavirus concerns.
Seneca President Rickey Armstrong Sr. said Friday the Nation’s gaming operations had directed management teams at Seneca Gaming & Entertainment and Seneca Gaming Corp. to finalize reopening plans for all Class II and Class III gaming operations.
With more than 4,000 employees, Armstrong said the Seneca Nation “will return their valued employees to work and help drive Western New York’s economic recovery.”
The Nation will start a phased, multi-week reopening process in early June, Armstrong said. Details on specific property opening dates and safety protocols will be announced by the respective gaming companies in the coming days, following final approval by the Seneca Nation.
“Over the past two months, we have taken extraordinary steps to protect the health and safety of our territories, our people, our workers and our guests,” Armstrong said. “The Seneca Nation’s gaming operations are an important economic driver for the Seneca people, Western New York and the statewide economy.”
He said the gaming operations are committed to a “measured and responsible process that balances our economic sovereignty and our commitment to ensure a safe, healthy and enjoyable environment for all workers and visitors at our properties.”
The Nation’s reopening directive applies to its Class II Seneca Gaming & Entertainment sites in Irving, Salamanca and Cuba, as well as the Class III Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino properties operated by Seneca Gaming.
The Nation ordered the temporary suspension of all gaming operations on March 16 as part of the widespread COVID-19 response measures across all Seneca territories.
“The Nation and its gaming enterprises will implement comprehensive safety protocols informed by public health guidance and industry best practices that will exceed those of many other facilities and businesses,” Armstrong vowed.
“This will include, but will not be limited to, temperature screening for all workers and guests upon arrival, personal protective equipment standards for all workers, the required use of masks by workers and patrons, controlled social distancing, and enhanced sanitation procedures at all properties.”
It’s expected the gaming facilities will initially reopen at reduced capacity.
“Reopening the properties in phases will allow us to keep a close eye on how each individual facility responds and to make any necessary adjustments as we ramp up to full operations,” Armstrong said. “We’re eager to open our doors, but safety will remain our guiding principle through these all-important first steps.”
The Seneca Nation’s gaming operations collectively employ more than 4,000 workers from across Western New York and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in local payroll and economic activity with vendors throughout the region and across the state.
“Suspending business activity on our territories was a difficult, but necessary decision,” Armstrong said. “We are excited to welcome our employees back and to provide world-class service to our guests again.”
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)