TYRE — Del Lago Resort & Casino, which has been trying to rebound from a lengthy COVID-19-related shutdown earlier this year, has been hit with another setback.
Casino officials announced Tuesday that the state’s new restriction on Liquor Authority-licensed facilities — a mandate requiring them to close by 10 p.m. daily — has prompted del Lago to lay off 50 employees.
The resort has bars and restaurants on its premises that serve alcoholic beverages.
“As part of New York state’s efforts to contain the recent COVID-19 spike, del Lago Resort & Casino was ordered to limit its daily operational hours until further notice, with new operating hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” del Lago GM and Executive Vice President Lance Young explained in a statement. “Due to our limited operational schedule, we have made the difficult decision to furlough 50 employees.”
When the first wave of pandemic restrictions occurred, the casino shut down all operations March 16. Only a handful of workers returned, mainly maintenance and security staff. Other support staff, such as accountants and human resources, worked from home. The employees were paid until April 3, when they were furloughed. They retained their health insurance for six months, whether the casino was open or not.
As a result, del Lago’s gross gaming revenues declined sharply, as did the amount of revenue it shares with the state, Seneca County, the host town of Tyre, and the Waterloo school district.
The facility reopened Sept. 9, with the following changes in place:
• All workers were required to use a single entrance on the east side, have their temperature taken, and sanitize their hands.
• The number of slot machines was reduced from 1,650 to a little more than 400, with all seats being six feet apart on all sides. Machines were sanitized regularly.
• Capacity in the DraftKings sports wagering wing was reduced from around 1,700 to 237.
• All table games remained shut down, and the gift shop, hotel and spa remained closed.
• Casino hours were set at 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, allowing for time to clean the facilities.
Until the pandemic, the casino operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The casino portion of the resort opened first, in February 2017, one of four upstate entities the state licensed after voters approved a statewide referendum allowing casino gambling.
When fully operational, del Lago employs about 1,100 people.