Rivers Casino reopens for the first time in six months

Emily Burkhard
Updated: September 10, 2020 04:53 AM
Created: September 09, 2020 07:09 PM

SCHENECTADY - After being forced to close for six months, Rivers Casino is open for business again.

NewsChannel 13 got a look at some of the new safety measures they've put in place.


The casino can only have about 1,000 guests inside at once, or about 25 percent capacity. Officials said over 60 percent of staff members were back to work so far. 

As the doors opened Wednesday evening, hundreds of people showed up to try their luck..

"This is our reset and now that were open were in rebuild mode,” Rivers Casino Vice President and General Manager Justin Moore said.

Moore said his staff has been hard at work installing Plexiglas, placing social distancing stickers throughout the facility, switching out air filters and sanitizing every surface.

Guests will have their temperatures taken when they arrive and they'll have to wear masks at all times, except when showing their ID at the casino entrance.

There are now hand sanitizing stations across the gaming floor, every other slot machine has been taken offline, and table games and poker aren't being offered now.

Moore said poker won't be offered because of the social nature of the game, but they are working on getting craps and roulette tables open.

"We should have those online very, very soon,” Moore said. “There's some details in the guidelines that we're still working with the commission that need to be really ironed out in six days just wasn't enough time to get it done."

The sportsbook is now open as well.

Sportsbooking Manager Hal Wafer said with professional basketball, baseball, hockey, football, soccer all playing at the same time, they're expecting substantial crowds.

"There's just going to be a plethora of games to bet, like one big menu and like when you're a little kid at Bob's Big Boy and the menu is bigger than you are,” Wafer said. “All the sports you can bet that's what it's going to look like and I expect people to really take to it."

Frank Ferrraro came from Niskayuna to place his first bet since the pandemic closure.

"I know there's barriers around everyone's wearing a mask or sanitizer all over the place I mean that's the important thing everybody's being safe and everybody's not on top of each other which is a plus,” he said.

Ferarro said he used to come place bets several times a week during football season. He said he could see himself doing that again this year.

"I mean I'll see how the crowds are if there's a lot of lines I'd pass on it but right now it seems pretty good,” Ferarro said.

The casino will also be closing from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. every day for deep cleaning.

Casino officials said at this point the only place you'll be able to order food or drinks is in the restaurant areas. Those areas are also limited to 25 percent capacity.

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