Coronavirus: New Jersey Governor Orders Casinos to Close Indefinitely

  • Executive order passed to close casinos and other social, entertainment venues
  • “Aggressive social distancing measures” taken to slow spread of coronavirus
  • Local leaders agree it will be difficult but necessary, other states enacting similar measures
aerial view of Altantic City, New Jersey
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered all of the state’s casinos to close by Monday night to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. [Image:]

East Coast gambling hub goes dark

On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 104 to implement “aggressive social distancing measures” in the Garden State. Among these measures is the closure of the state’s casinos.

The order comes as part of measures being taken on federal and state levels across the US to try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“Our paramount priority is to ‘flatten the curve’ of new cases, so we do not overwhelm our health care system and overload our health care professionals who are on the front lines of the response,” said Governor Murphy.

Our paramount priority is to ‘flatten the curve’ of new cases”

Most of New Jersey’s casinos are in Atlantic City. They include Bally’s, Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Harrah’s, Ocean Resorts, and Tropicana. Racetracks such as Monmouth Park and Meadowlands were also ordered to close by 8pm Monday.

There is no date set for casinos to reopen.

Local officials on board

“It is no longer time for business as usual,” Murphy said on Monday. “This is real. Stop believing folks who say this isn’t real.”

State and local leaders understand and agree with the decision. Steve Callender, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and senior vice president of Eastern Regional Operations of Eldorado Resorts, called it a “prudent decision.”

no one is exempt”

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr said that, though casinos drive his city’s economy, “no one is exempt.”

Atlantic City casinos employ nearly 28,000 people, most of whom are now out of work. Borgata, Bally’s, Caesars, Harrah’s, and Hard Rock have plans to help employees financially, though it won’t necessarily be for long. MGM, which owns Borgata, is giving its furloughed and laid-off employees two weeks’ pay. The listed casinos have also extended their employees’ health coverage.

State lawmakers are also working on legislation to aid casino workers who are adversely affected by the closures.

Many casinos closing nationwide

Atlantic City casinos might have closed temporarily had the governor not signed the executive order, but the decree certainly sped things along. MGM had already decided over the weekend to shut down its Las Vegas casinos. It also had to close its casinos in Maryland, Michigan, and Massachusetts because of government orders.

Caesars has not closed its Las Vegas casinos as of Monday night. It seems that it is only ceasing operations in locations where the government has forced it to do so. Other casinos around the country are voluntarily closing to try to contain the coronavirus.

As of noon Monday, there have been nearly 3,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, 178 of which are in New Jersey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *