County orders closure of Jake's 58 casino on virus concerns

Saturday 14th March 2020

Suffolk County Executive Steve Belllone has ordered the suspension of gaming operations at Jake's 58 in Islandia for the next five days.

The casino had remained open despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo's ban on public gatherings of more than 500 people that began Friday.

On Thursday, Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 500 people and capped attendance at 250 for venues that hold fewer than 500 people in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

"Since the outset of this public health crisis, Suffolk County has made its decisions based on the recommendations by our county health officials," Bellone said in a county statement. "At my direction, I am issuing an Executive Order to suspend operations of Jake's 58 Casino beginning this evening to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus and to ensure the safety of our residents."

Bellone added that the county will continue to monitor the situation and make an assessment at a later time to determine when casino operations may resume.

"Suffolk OTB's first obligation is to protect public health and safety," Suffolk OTB spokesman Jon Schneider said in an emailed statement. "We sought and received permission from the New York State Gaming Commission to comply with County Executive Bellone's order to suspend gaming operations at 6 p.m. today, for five days."

Schneider said that Jake's 58 has been protecting public health by following state guidelines including "reducing both gaming machines and capacity to create social distancing and CDC guidelines on sanitizing protocols and cleaning" throughout the venue.

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