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Employees frustrated as del Lago remains closed, with no clear indication when NYS will allow it to open

After multiple stories about del Lago Resort & Casino’s WARN notice to employees becoming publicly listed on the Department of Labor’s website – employees are speaking out.

They are frustrated with the lack of guidance from New York State.

Valerie McIntyre is a floor supervisor with the casino, and spoke with CNYCentral about the experience of the last several months.

“We were very hopeful it was going to be a quick turnaround,” she told them. “We did not expect it to be this long.”

Her health insurance has been paid for by del Lago during the pandemic, and she has been receiving unemployment insurance from New York State. However, McIntyre says that once the $600 boost ends, it won’t be enough to live on.

“Our implementation of the plan that includes the CDC and the state guidelines, I think we are really ready and in a good position to do this,” McIntyre added, speaking to the prospects of reopening.

She added that management has stayed on top of things throughout the pandemic.

“Management is very on top of this and they want us open, they want us back,” she added in that interview with CNYCentral. “[The] Finger Lakes needs our revenue, let’s face it we generate a lot.”

Officials with del Lago say they have not officially laid-off any workers. However, with upwards of 1,077 collecting unemployment benefits – the phrasing may only be a formality. And without insight as to when casinos like del Lago might be able to reopen – it could be a difficult road ahead.

As reported Tuesday, Executive Vice President & General Manager Lance Young said that the publication of the WARN notice was ‘nothing new’. “On July 24th, they were simply posted to the Department of Labor’s website. Nothing new occurred and the notices do not reflect termination or ‘cuts’, but are required by State and Federal governments when workers are furloughed for a certain period of time,” he said in an updated statement.

Young thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his leadership in New York State, while his employees hope for reopening soon.

“We appreciate Governor Cuomo’s leadership during this time and are eager to safely open our doors and welcome back our employees and patrons,” Young concluded.

Employees like McIntyre say that seeing casinos like Turning Stone reopen, which is operated by the Oneida Nation and not subject to New York State law, is proof that they can do it safely, too.

“I really have no concerns because I know that the management is going to implement everything to keep me safe, to keep my guests safe,” she concluded to CNYCentral.