The Seneca Nation of Indians announced Monday it would suspend gaming operations at its three Western New York casinos, beginning at 8 p.m., in a move to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
In addition to the Nation's casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca, additional Seneca Gaming Corporation operations in Cuba, Irving and Salamanca are also being temporarily closed.
"The COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented public safety situation that requires an unprecedented response,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Senior in a prepared written statement. "Given the number of people who visit and work at our facilities, I believe it is in the best interest to suspend our gaming operations until further notice. We are keeping the health and safety of our workers, our guests and our communities above all else."
Officials announced that several other facilities and services on Seneca territory will be temporarily closed immediately. Essential services including emergency services, health services and the elders’ meal program were set to continue, though Armstrong noted that procedures were subject to adjustments to minimalize unnecessary contact.
The Seneca president called the moves significant but necessary to ensure continued critical services while taking the ongoing health crisis under consideration.
"As a unified Seneca community, it is incumbent upon each of us to adjust to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and to do everything we can to keep ourselves, our families and our territories safe while the full public response to this situation plays out," Armstrong said in prepared remarks. "As we continue to work together, I am confident that the Seneca Nation, our people, and our territories will withstand this unprecedented public health event as strongly and effectively as possible."