Before Oneida Nation released its casino reopening plan, county leaders were briefed and gave it rave reviews

Local News

VERONA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Three weeks from Wednesday, the Turning Stone Resort Casino will welcome gamblers and diners back after being closed for more than two months.

But before the Oneida Indian Nation released its reopening plan to the public, county leaders were either involved in the process or briefed on the plan.

The targeted date for reopening is Wednesday, June 10th for Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, Point Place Casino in Bridgeport and YBR Casino in Chittenango.

June 10 is near the expected start date of New York State’s Phase 3 reopening.

On Tuesday, the Nation released a 26-page plan that outlines significant changes to casino and dining operations intended for a safe customer experience during the pandemic.

Key polices include:

  • Masks required for all customers and staff
  • Gloves required for front-line staff (like food service and dealers)
  • Staff’s temperatures checked daily before being allowed into the facility
  • Guests limited to residents who live within a 120-mile radius
  • No concerts, shows or mass gathering events

Because the Oneidas are a sovereign nation, they don’t need to follow the state’s phase reopening orders, but county leaders asked to provide input were impressed with their requested involvement.

Oneida County, home to Turning Stone, might have had the most active role in the process. County Executive Anthony Picente tells NewsChannel 9 that his health department didn’t only review the final product, but included in the line-by-line construction of the plan and was invited to make suggestions.

The contributions the county is most proud of include the 120-mile guest radius and the ban on large events.

Picente says, “I’ve looked at other plans from around the country, actually. There’s nothing that comes close to what they put forth.”

At his daily briefing, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says he was shown the plan before it was released to the public and appreciates what he considers the Nation’s respect of the state’s phases.

While the Madison County Chairman John Becker says he hasn’t seen the plan, the Nation says he was briefed on it. In a statement provided by the Nation, Becker says, “I have faith that the Oneida Indian Nation has the safety and health of their employees and patrons as their top priority as they get ready to open their doors.”

Before being allowed into all three casinos, guests will need to show ID with an address. That proves their residence is within 120 miles and it helps casino staff save contact information in the event of a coronavirus outbreak at the facilities.

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