Atlantic City, the gambling hub of New Jersey, is taking extraordinary measures in an attempt to bring back people and boost businesses, as Mayor Marty Small issued an executive order Monday to temporarily remove a long-time ban on drinking on the Boardwalk and allow people to have a drink while strolling, effective Friday.
Bringing People Back Is Vital
The proposed measure is a continuation from a move in New Jersey a few weeks ago that allowed towns to temporarily serve alcohol for consumption in designated areas, and several towns gladly embraced the opportunity.
The Mayor’s executive order allowed drinks in areas including the Boardwalk, the Gardner’s Basin non-residential areas, as well as some streets just off the Boardwalk, the “Orange Loop”, associated with the same color designated streets in the famous Monopoly game. Drinks need to have been purchased at a licensed establishment, served only in plastic cups that bear the name or logo of the place the drink comes from and be no larger than 16 ounces.
Recreating the Party Spirit
Atlantic City, which still has its casinos and main attractions closed down and restaurants and bars unable to serve food and drinks indoors, is going back to the idea of recreating the party spirit of New Orleans and Key West, an idea that had several times tried its way through state legislature but with no success.
The current measure that allows drinks while strolling on the Boardwalk will be in effect until November, or until restrictions on bars are lifted by the governor, whichever of the two events comes first. The move is greeted by owners of restaurants and bars, seeking every opportunity to offset the effects from the business closure due to the virus containment efforts in the state. The measure is also widely supported by the Casino Association of New Jersey.
The gaming and hospitality industry in the state has been severely impacted by the ongoing spread of the coronavirus as all 9 casinos shut down operations March 16, to comply with St.Gov. Phill Murphy’s order, and have remained closed ever since. Casino operators in Atlantic City placed on furlough more than 16,000 employees, with MGM Resorts’ workforce being almost entirely affected, and Caesars‘ temporary layoffs at 90% of it. All these developments resulted in the overall unemployment in the state spiking to unseen levels, adding more than 200,000 for a single week.