Batavia Downs reopens at reduced capacity after gaming floor shut down nearly 6 months

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2020 at 1:45 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers – Batavia Downs on Park Road in Batavia reopened its gaming floor this morning. The site is owned by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, which shares its profits with 15 counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

BATAVIA – Batavia Downs reopened its gaming floor this morning at 8 after being shut down for nearly 6 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions form the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 3 announced casinos and video gaming centers could reopen today – at 25 percent occupancy limit.

Batavia Downs is partly owned by Orleans County. Orleans is one of 15 counties in WNY as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo that make up Western Regional OTB, owner of the race track and gaming center in Batavia.

“We are so looking forward to welcoming back our guests,” Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Batavia Downs, said in a news release. “Our staff is working diligently on providing a safe, secure entertainment environment for everyone to return to and enjoy.”

Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs, said customers need to abide by Covid-19 precautions to enter the gaming floor.

He urged people to stay home if they are not feeling well or Covid-19 have symptoms. Customers will need to wear a face covering or shield if they want to enter the building.

The Downs has installed hand sanitizing stations and floor markings, urging social distancing and also helping to direct people in the 60,000-square-foot building which has 800 video lottery terminals.

Some of the VLT machines have been turned off to allow at least 6 feet of space between customers who are on the gaming floor.

Those customers will need to have temperature checked before going to gaming floor. The Downs will have three restaurants open inside the building, but customers can only eat or drink at the restaurants, not on the gaming floor, Hasenauer advised in a Facebook post.

Smoking also isn’t allowed inside Batavia Downs right now.

Batavia Downs will be increasing the rigor of cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the facility. The Downs will also be increasing the number of shifts and hours of their environmental service team to maintain a high level of cleanliness. There are more than 120 hand-sanitizing stations located on the gaming floor, event spaces and in all the restaurants.

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