New restrictions

New York: Seneca casinos reinstate mask mandate amid local COVID-19 surge

Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, Erie County, New York.
United States
Reading time 1:34 min

Seneca Gaming announced Monday that, starting Tuesday, November 23, masks will be a requirement at all three of its properties in New York state, regardless of vaccination status. This new protocol comes as positive cases of COVID-19 continue to increase throughout Erie County, which mandated mask mandates for indoor, public buildings effective Tuesday as well.

The requirement went into effect on Tuesday at 6 a.m. It now applies to all employees and guests at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. It will remain in effect until further notice, and will apply to every area of each property. 

The company also stated that all three properties have been following enhanced safety measures, including controlled capacity, physical distancing protocols and increased sanitation procedures for the past 18 months. 

The company has also required face masks for all guests and staff, and all indoor entertainment at Seneca Niagara & Casino, and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino since live performances resumed in August. 

Seneca Gaming Corporation President & CEO Kevin Nephew said: “Our highest priority remains the health, safety and enjoyment of our guests and our team members. While we have maintained a strict adherence to COVID-related protocols at our three properties, the recent trends throughout Western New York are concerning. Requiring the use of face masks is the right step to ensure that our properties remain safe, enjoyable environments for all”. 

This measure comes as Erie County determined masks to be worn in all indoor, public locations as a part of a plan announced by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Masks must be worn by patrons aged 2 and older in restaurants, bars, stores, theaters, barber shops, beauty parlors, gyms, fitness centers, hotels, banks, entertainment venues and other places open to the public. 

The county executive said if hospitalizations and cases do not decrease, a second phase of the plan would require people to be fully vaccinated for indoor dining or to enter bars and entertainment venues. Poloncarz said the situation will be re-evaluated in three weeks. 

COVID-19 cases in Erie County have doubled over the past four weeks and cone up 22% last week alone. 91% of hospital beds in the county are full and the ICU is at 87% capacity, as reported by WIVB