Atlantic City’s casinos are reopening today, Thursday, and tomorrow, Friday, amid heightened safety and health protocols. Indoor dining, smoking and drinking has been banned. The Borgata has chosen not to restart operations.
AC Casinos Prepare to Reopen 108 Days after Shutdown
Casinos in Atlantic City are opening for business for the first time in 108 days after the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States today. The gaming venues are returning with no smoking, no drinking and no dining options, limiting the facilities capacity and complying with a slew of health and safety codes.
With all gamblers now forced to wear a mask or be turned away from the properties, players have to undergo temperature checks and use the sanitization stations to enter inside casinos. Overall, five casinos out of nine properties have decided to reopen on Thursday, including:
- Hard Rock
- Golden Nugget
They are followed by three others on Friday, including Bally’s, Harrah’s and Caesars. The only casino to refrain from reopening is the Borgata, which has ruled against the idea because of a newly-introduced ban on indoor dining.
Gov. Phil Murphy cited health concerns and a growing number of cases as the reason behind his decision to ban indoor dining and suspend drinking and smoking on the premises of reopening casinos.
Some casino managers have responded that the surprise announcement by Gov. Murphy did catch everyone unawares. Rod Baumann, regional president of Caesars Entertainment, said that the company had no idea that the governor would enact further restrictions. He said:
“Our plans were to open up the restaurants at 25% capacity, and we were ready to do that. We’ve spent the last 2 1/2 days scrambling to come up with a new plan.”
Bringing Food Outside Casino Properties
In a bid to cater to hungry casino patrons, operators have decided to bring food trucks to their entrances. Meanwhile, Harrah’s has decided to bring a portable version of its Gordon Ramsay steakhouse in a tented rooftop area, playfully calling it “Ramsey on the Roof.” Broadwalk drinks will also be rolling in.
Even though it’s not reopening, the Borgata has built hand-washing stations on the casino floor, including various fixtures, and these will remain even after the outbreak has been brought in under control and eliminated.
Resorts is also using ultra-violet light alongside disinfectants to bring the chance of infection to a minimum and cleaning staff is taking care of kiosks, bathrooms, slot machines, and guest rooms around the clock.
All of these preparations are designed with one specific purpose, create a post-COVID-19 environment in which businesses can operate safely and without running a risk of closing again.
The hopes are that Atlantic City will be able to keep its casinos open for the sake of tax revenue while not endangering public health.