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Casino workers rally to reopen

Jacquie Slater
Updated: August 27, 2020 07:52 PM
Created: August 27, 2020 04:59 PM

Downpours and thunderstorms were no match for some casino workers on Thursday. Rallies for the governor to reopen private casinos were held at several locations across the state as employees say frustrations are high and bank accounts are low.

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"I do have reserves but, you know, it's getting to that time where we're ready to go back to work, and we need that steady income and that job security. It's scary," said Noah Shechter, an employee at Rivers Casino in Schenectady. 

Shechter has worked at Rivers Casino for two years. He was one of many employees to rally along Erie Boulevard Thursday afternoon.

"I know that we have the ability to reopen and our management will put in place those procedures that we need to do and I believe that we can reopen safely," said Shechter. 

LaChelle Rick is a table games supervisor at Rivers. She says she understands the governor had to implement a shutdown, but they never expected it would last this long.

"The lack of time and support that the state has been given to us, it's supporting everybody else. We bring in the funds for the education, we bring in the funds for the local community," said Rick.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to the state for follow-up. The Division of the Budget sent NewsChannel 13 the following statement:

"New York State has been following the data and latest science on the virus to re-open the economy safely, and we are doing the same when it comes to casinos. Casinos remain closed along with similar activities across the state as they invite congregation among customers in proximity to each other while eating and drinking, activities that don't allow for consistent mask-wearing. Nationwide, states are delaying re-opening plans and rolling them back as COVID cases spike. We've already seen casinos in California, Arizona and Miami re-open and then close due to COVID. In New York, we will continue to track the data, the science and activity at casinos around the country, and will make a decision on re-opening them here when health experts determine it is safe to do so." –Freeman Klopott, spokesman, New York State Division of the Budget

For Shechter and Rick, that response is no longer acceptable.

"Unemployment is gone. It really is. I mean we're really struggling," said LaChelle. "We're ready to work and if we don't get the subsidy or get everything brought back we're going to really be hurting."


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