Casinos in AC to Resume Drinking and Smoking on Friday

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August 1, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order allowing the resumption of indoor dining with reduced capacity starting from Friday. Casino patrons will be able to enjoy a beverage and smoke while in their seats effective from Friday as well.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Signed Executive Order No. 183

Smoking and consuming beverages on casino floors in Atlantic City will resume this Friday, following an order by state officials. The order by Governor Phil Murphy’s office allows visitors of casinos to consume drinks when in their seats. Smoking is also no longer prohibited and casinos with AC systems can resume smoking on casino floors this Friday.

Governor Murphy also allowed the resumption of indoor dining, starting from this Friday, September 4. Executive Order No. 183 was signed by the Governor yesterday and it outlines certain restrictions for restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment businesses. According to the order, the food and beverage establishments offering in-person service must follow the strict protocols set by the Department of Health’s Health and Safety Standards:

  • Limit the visitor capacity of indoor areas to 25%
  • Limit the available seats per table to eight and adhere minimum distance of six feet between parties
  • Require patrons to wear masks at all time except when eating or drinking
  • Require all visitors to be seated when ordering or receiving food
  • All venues must also open their windows and doors to ensure air circulation

Indoor Dining Resumes on Friday with Occupancy Limits

In a statement, Governor Murphy said: “Given the progress we continue to see statewide, and with the proper precautions and limitations in place, I am proud that we can take this step today to allow our restaurants to once again welcome patrons back for indoor dining services.” He also expressed hope that the resumption will only lead to a future increasing in occupancy limits.

According to data by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health, for the last six days until yesterday, there were no newly reported deaths related to COVID-19. In total, Atlantic County has seen 3,989 positive COVID-19 cases with 245 deceased patients. On the bright side, some 2,697 patients have already recovered.

But here is what Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a statement: “Sitting at a table inside a favorite restaurant and enjoying a good meal with family and friends has been a shared missed experience for New Jerseyans.” He added that the introduced measures are aiming at ensuring the health and safety of both visitors and employees.

Smoking-Free Casinos Still a Controversial Topic

Smoking-free casino floors is a controversial topic for a long time. But only recently, we observed some changes which were introduced by casino operators. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandatory wearing of masks, many operators chose to ban smoking from the casino floors. This however raised concerns with many operators in terms of how will the smoke ban impact their revenue, given that in the COVID-19 environment many venues operate under reduced capacity.

But looking at data from a poll by Las Vegas Advisor revealed last week, we see that smoke-free casinos are supported by 72% of the interviewed gamblers. According to the paper, 150 casinos that used to allow smoking before the COVID-19 shutdown, have reopened and introduced a ban on smoking. The responders who participated in the poll had to choose from 13 sections which contained statements regarding smoking in casinos. Some 72% out of the 1523 responders supported smoke-free casinos. In contrast, an approximate one-fourth of the total number of people approved smoking in casinos.

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