New York Casino Employees Heading to Albany for Reopening Rally

  • Workers want to convince Governor Andrew Cuomo to reopen casinos
  • Three New York casino employees organized the rally
  • COVID-19 health guidelines will be followed, including mask-wearing and social distancing
  • Employees want concrete information, including a timeline, on when casinos will get back to work
Woman wearing a mask holding a "Back to Work" sign at a rally
Casino employees in New York will hold rally outside state Capitol Building on Thursday to fight for the reopening of gambling venues. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Urging Governor Cuomo to reopen casinos

As gaming venues remain closed, New York casino employees are traveling to Albany to rally for reopening. On Thursday, the workers will gather outside the state Capitol Building in an effort to convince Governor Andrew Cuomo that casinos must get back to business.

try to convince Cuomo that they are essential workers

The rally was organized by three employees of NY casinos, as 5,200 individuals have been out of work because of the closure. Greg Mallette is employed by Vernon Downs, Robin Torr works at the Tioga Downs Casino Resort, and Valerie McIntyre works at the del Lago Resort & Casino. The three planners want to try to convince Cuomo that they are essential workers.

New York casino employees want to work

Governor Cuomo closed casinos in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, Cuomo has decided to keep the casinos closed, calling them non-essential as people do not need casinos to survive. The governor has been leery of reopening the gaming venues because of “density, the likelihood of compliance and the essential nature of the business.”

The three rally organizers disagree with the governor. They worked together to create a Facebook group and organized this event to shed light on the issue. They also created an online petition to push Cuomo to reopen the casinos. The petition has over 2,400 signatures.

In an interview with auburnpub.com, McIntyre said everyone will abide by health guidelines at the capitol. This includes wearing a face mask, encouraging social distancing, and providing hand sanitizer for those in attendance.

Let us earn what we deserve.”

McIntyre stated further that the message they want to send with the rally is that they are essential workers. “We need to work,” she said. “We don’t want to keep collecting your unemployment. Let us earn what we deserve. We are ready to go back to work.”

Still in the dark

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is one driving factor surrounding the rally. The New York casino employees want a timeline provided so they know when they will be getting back to work. Cuomo recently allowed bowling alleys to reopen and guidance will be offered for gyms. This could be a sign that the governor is getting ready to allow more businesses such as casinos to start offering services again.

Mallette commented on the timeline and guidance, stating that the worst part of all of this is not knowing. He said: “We don’t know if it’s going to be next week, if it’s going to be two weeks or if we are going to get to Oct. 1 and we’re all going to be laid off.”

If a response is not provided by Cuomo once the rally is over, the employees plan to take their rallies to the New York casinos themselves.