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Bellone orders Jake's 58 casino to temporarily close amid coronavirus worries

A closed Jake's 58 casino and empty parking

A closed Jake's 58 casino and empty parking lot in Islandia on Sunday, March 15. Credit: James Carbone

Jake’s 58 in Islandia temporarily closed Saturday evening, becoming one of the latest venues to shut its doors due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The casino, which had been open earlier Saturday, was directed by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in an executive order to "suspend operations" to prevent further spread of the virus.

Bellone’s order took effect at 6 p.m. It described the closing as "temporary" and said county officials will “continue to monitor the situation and make an assessment at a later time to determine when casino operations may resume.”

The casino will be closed for five days,  Suffolk OTB spokesperson Jon Schneider said in an emailed statement.

Glen A. White, spokesman for Jake’s 58 parent company Delaware North, in an email said the hotel and restaurant would remain open until noon Sunday to accommodate overnight guests.

"All activities are canceled, including casino promotions," White said. "We apologize for the inconvenience to our guests and look forward to hosting them again in the near future."

The Suffolk OTB 1,000-machine video lottery casino faced closure when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday banned businesses and gatherings of 500 people or more for 30 days. The casino had remained open late Friday night, after the governor's directive took effect at 5 p.m.

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In response, Jake’s 58 restricted the capacity on the gaming floor to no more than 500. The casino also bolstered cleaning efforts, cut the number of guests at its restaurant by half, closed every other gaming machine to increase social distancing, and eliminated buffets, White told Newsday earlier this week

Suffolk OTB president Phil Nolan told Newsday’s Lane Filler that business was down about 30% early Friday afternoon.

Newsday reported that Jake’s 58 has been among the most profitable video lottery casinos in the state since it opened in February 2017. Last month it pulled in $346.7 million, its highest gross in the past 12 months.

"We will remain in touch with State and County health officials and we look forward to reopening Jake's 58 shortly and continuing to provide a clean, safe environment," Schneider said.

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