Oneidas to impose travel quarantine for employees, mirroring state plan

by Administrator

Verona, N.Y. — Although it’s not required to by law, the Oneida Indian Nation announced today it will impose a 14-day quarantine for any of its 5,000 employees who travel to certain states where the coronavirus is still spreading rapidly.

The quarantine mirrors one imposed Wednesday by the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“We are aligned with the policy coming from the state,” said Joel Barkin, vice president of communications for the Oneida Nation.

The Oneidas’ policy, like the state’s, advises employees not to travel to Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas. Any employee who does so will be required to quarantine for 14 days when they return.

The Oneidas, through Oneida Nation Enterprises, are one of the biggest employers in Madison and Oneida counties. Its primary businesses are three casinos: Turning Stone in Verona, Oneida County; and Point Place in Bridgeport and Yellow Brick Road in Chittenango, both in Madison County.

Those casinos opened for business June 10, again with health and safety protocols that are not required but which mirror state rules.

New York’s non-Indian casinos, meanwhile, are still closed and waiting for a green light from the state to reopen. That could happen within the next few weeks.

Indian casinos operate under agreements with the state called compacts. The Indian nations, including the Cayugas, Senecas and Mohawks, are not strictly bound by the executive orders issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in response to the coronavirus.

All of them closed their casinos voluntarily in March after Cuomo issued his order closing non-essential business. The Cayugas and Senecas have since reopened casinos and gaming hall, with health and safety protocols in place. The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino near Hogansburg in Northern New York remains closed.

A handful of Oneida Nation employees, less than five, have tested positive for Covid-19, Barkin said, including at least one at Point Place. None of those cases were contracted in the workplace, he said.

Because of employee screening and contact tracing procedures in place, the exposure from those employees has been minimized, he said.

“Our employees know if they test positive not to come in,” Barkin said.

These are the protocols the Oneidas are following at their casinos:

    • Limit access to guests who travel from within 120 miles within New York with valid New York State issued driver’s license or non-driver ID.
    • All employees are required to have daily screenings, including temperature checks. Employees who handle commonly touched items with guests are required to wear gloves, including in all restaurants, at registration desks and on the gaming floors.
    • Guest and employee entry and ID verification protocols that allow for contact tracing, if necessary.
    • Mandatory face coverings for all employees and guests, as a condition of entry, even in administrative areas.
    • Occupancy limits and distancing in all restaurants, lounges and smoking areas.
    • Enhanced cleaning measures include new technology that alerts guests with an on-screen notification of the exact time the slot machine was last sanitized. The new Automated Game Sanitization system also notifies the casino cleaning staff when a guest finishes playing on a machine so the slot machine can be cleaned.
    • HVAC air changeover levels will be maintained at significantly greater capacity, and will exceed those required by the standard commercial code.
  • https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2020/06/oneidas-to-impose-travel-quarantine-for-employees-mirroring-state-plan.html