'A nightmare': casino staff face unemployment if they don't reopen soon

'A nightmare': casino staff face unemployment if they don't reopen soon

NICHOLS (WBNG) — Tioga Downs Casino and Resort employees have been furloughed for four months, and the casino owner says it can’t last much longer.

Tioga Downs has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Owner Jeff Gural said the hotel reopened briefly because he thought the casino would be able to reopen as part of Phase 4, but when that didn’t happen he closed the hotel down as well. Gural said only P.J. Clarke’s restaurant is open on the weekends, and the racetrack is operating, but without spectators.

He said almost counter-intuitively, not reopening the casino is making the Southern Tier less safe.

“They don’t understand the mentality of our customers; I guarantee you none of them are waiting for Tioga Downs to open,” Gural told 12 News Tuesday. “They just jump in their car and drive to one of the casinos that’s open, and they’re not hard to find.”

Gural said under state law, any employee that is furloughed longer than six months will automatically be terminated. Additionally, Gural said the casino will go under if it has to remain closed another few months.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has not given any additional guidance since July 6, when he said the state is reviewing reopening practices to ensure safety.

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