Tioga Downs prepares to reopen

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TIOGA COUNTY – Following yesterday’s announcement that casinos in New York can reopen on a limited basis, Tioga Downs says it’s ready to offer a safe place for people to wager.

Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural calls the reopening a big relief, even with the severe restrictions being implemented.

The casino cannot offer table games, cannot offer drinks on the floor and must restrict capacity to 25%.

With those limitations, Gural says he’s not certain he’ll be able to bring back cocktail waitresses and dealers before the October 1st deadline when their furloughs legally become layoffs.

He says it’s frustrating that Indian-owned casinos like Turning Stone are operating without those restrictions, but he stills feels his venue will be safer.

“We’re going to do temperature checks, we’re going to test all of our employees. And more importantly, I think the thing that makes us safer is that we’re smaller. I think if I were concerned about safety, I’d rather go someplace where there are 300 people than 3,000 people,” says Gural.

The resort plans to reopen its hotel and its fine dining restaurant P-J Clarke’s will be open on weekends.

Virgil’s Barbeque and the buffet will remain closed for now, but the Coasters sports bar will be operating.

Gural says next week’s timing is good in that it will allow the FanDuel sports book to reopen in time for the NFL’s opening week, not to mention all of the other professional sports taking place.

And Tioga Downs has 2 more weekends left of harness track racing as well.

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