A long-awaited announcement
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced via Twitter on Monday that casinos in Atlantic City will be able to reopen on July 2.
Atlantic City casinos, as well as the indoor dining rooms of New Jersey’s restaurants, will be limited to just 25% capacity. The state will release comprehensive health and safety protocols in the coming days.
Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City’s president Joe Lupo spoke about the timing of the casinos reopening, saying: “We thank the governor that we’ll be able to be open for the July 4th weekend to meet the demand on the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.”
New health and safety standards
Most of the casinos already have plans in place for reopening, having watched gambling venues in other states go through the same process already. These new measures will include installing systems and barriers to enforce social distancing, as well as providing hand-sanitizing stations to try to limit any potential spread of the coronavirus.
player database will help with any contact tracing that might be needed
Hard Rock says that its new measures will likely be better than the state’s standards. According to Lupo, the Hard Rock’s air filtration at the casino is more effective than what is found in most hospitals. He also said that his company’s player database will help with any contact tracing that might be needed.
“With 85% of our customers being rated, we can provide details on when they played, for how long, which beverage servers were in the vicinity, which room they stayed in, where they ate,” he told Associated Press.
Resorts Casino is planning on using air ionization as well as ultraviolet light to help with its sanitizing procedures. Every other slot machine is going to be inactive to ensure that proper distancing is in place.
A tough time
Governor Murphy had previously stated that he hoped to reopen casinos by the Fourth of July weekend, one of the busiest times of the year for the Atlantic City properties. Most of the casinos have been putting plans in place to be ready to reopen for the holiday weekend. About three quarters of the casinos around the country have opened over the past several weeks.
New Jersey’s casinos have been closed since March 16. Many furloughed workers are about to see their health benefits run out, which led union members to stage a protest last Friday to try to get the casinos to pay for their insurance from July. A bill is also making its way through the legislature that would provide some financial relief to the casinos by deferring license fees and temporarily cutting gaming taxes.
New Jersey has had over 172,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13,029 deaths as of Monday.