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Outbreak delays casino reopening

AKWESASNE — A recent COVID-19 outbreak has prompted the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to delay the planned reopening of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort until the end of August.

The facility had been scheduled to reopen Aug. 1 after submitting a reopening plan to the tribe for approval.

After an outbreak that resulted in eight positive cases of the virus, the Tribal Council agreed to delay the reopening until Aug. 28.

“As one of the last tribal gaming operations to reopen in the country, the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort has taken lessons learned to develop a stringent plan that assures the ongoing health and safety of guests, associates, and the community,” a tribe Facebook post announcing the decision said.

The announcement came the same day as both the tribe and Franklin County Manager Donna Kissane said the number of active cases traced to a July 10 river outing had climbed to eight.

The outbreak also prompted the tribe to renew restrictions it had put in place in an effort to control the spread of the virus. The tribe had earlier this month begun to gradually lift restrictions it had imposed as part of a state of emergency declared March 16.

In her daily email briefing on the virus, Kissane said, “Multiple counties in our region are identifying an increase in positives due to gatherings that do not maintain 6-foot social distancing &/or masks, increasing the risk of infection and increasing the spread of the virus.”

Tribal leaders also urged people to wear masks and practice social distancing as a way to stem the spread of the disease.

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