Casinos in Atlantic City will be able to re-open in time for the July 4 weekend, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced today. Besides the casinos that are allowed to resume operations effective July 2, albeit with 25% capacity, restaurants can also re-open at the same date applying the same level of capacity reduction, outlined the state governor in a twitter post.
The Wait Is Almost Over
St.Gov. Phil Murphy ordered casinos in the state to shut down operations March 16, to prevent the further spread of the highly contagious virus infection. Alongside the gaming facilities, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters were also among the first businesses ordered to temporarily halt. More than 3 months later, land-based gaming venues and dining facilities will be able to resume operations.
The state governor pointed out coming up with a plan to re-open casinos has been difficult in order to ensure the safety of gamblers and workers in a closed, confined space where the virus thrives and is easily transmitted.
“Additional health and safety guidance will be released within the next several days”St.Gov. Phil Murphy
The casino closures in the state had serious impact on the industry, as they caused revenues to sink and the major part of the casino workforce furloughed. Atlantic City casinos have been patiently waiting for a re-opening date to be able to bring back their employees to work, watching brick-and-mortar gaming facilities in other states re-open.
“This means thousands of New Jerseyans can get back to work.”St.Gov. Phil Murphy
Most of the casinos have already been considering certain measures to mitigate the risk of contagion for employees and guests, to be ready for when the time to resume operations come. Barriers between gamers and dealers at the table games will ensure separation and physical distance, temperature screenings at the entry will filter out potential virus bearers, wearing facial masks will prevent the air transmission of the virus from person to person. Other non-standard measures Atlantic City casinos consider include air ionization and ultraviolet light as part of the cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
No Mask, No Gaming
Despite the difference in approach towards wearing masks among the casinos, as some of them will have the masks as a recommendation, while others will have them as a requirement, Murphy made it crystal clear that masks will be mandatory.
“If any visitor refuses to comply with these simple safeguards, you will be escorted out of the casino. We are not going to tolerate any knuckleheads trying to ruin it for those who wish to enjoy themselves responsibly and those who need to get back to work…”St.Gov. Phil Murphy
Mid-June state lawmakers, worried that a 2007-2009 crisis scenario may repeat, put forth a bill to allow for tax breaks for casino operators for up to 2 years, to help them steady the ship wrecked by the virus-induced closures.