To begin their difficult recovery from the COVID-19 impact, casinos in Atlantic City need conventions and trade shows. The industry urges Governor Phil Murphy to increase the indoor capacity enabling conventions.
To Begin Recovering from COVID-19 Impact, AC Casinos Need Conventions
Casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey are facing a difficult recovery from the devastating COVID-19 hit. Shut back in March, the casinos in the Garden State were allowed to reopen on July 2. Similar to other states, to operate safely in the COVID-19 environment, each operator had to follow strict health and safety guidelines. Despite being able to open doors, many casinos indicated losses in millions. The reduced venue capacity, as well as decreased traveling, boosted the negative impact on the casino and hospitality industry.
To begin their recovery, casino operators are urging government officials to ease the restrictions on the indoor gathering. If this is done, the industry will be able to start hosting conventions, trade shows as well as entertainment programs. Furthermore, if the indoor capacity limits are increased, more people will be able to visit restaurants and bars. All those factors will undoubtedly contribute positively to the hotel and casino industry in New Jersey. However, if this is not done, operators are warning that the impact on the industry may result in more layoffs and even more difficult recovery process.
In an interview for The Press of Atlantic City, Unite Here Local 54 president Bob McDevitt outlined that 70% of the 10,000 union’s members have returned to work by now. According to him, this percentage can increase to 75% if state officials ease the restrictions on indoor gatherings. McDevitt stressed that in light of all precautions which the casino operators have already implemented “probably one of the safest places to be is in a ballroom of an Atlantic City casino.”
The Return of Conventions Is Vital to the Hotel and Casino Industry
According to the president and CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel, Mark Giannantoni, the industry has already developed comprehensive health and safety guidelines with the help of healthcare experts. Furthermore, he said that the industry has already established safe indoor dining conditions and the next step is the return of conventions.
“We feel pretty passionate that we can do this, and we can do this well.”Steve Callender, regional president of Caesars Entertainment Inc
The president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and regional president of Caesars Entertainment Inc, Steve Callender said that the industry needs help. Acknowledging that currently, it is the prime season for conventions, Callender stressed that meetings and conventions are needed as well as an increase of indoor dining to 50%.
“Without the convention and meeting industry, the negative economic impact to both large and small businesses, including lost wages, will be devastating to the market and residents of Atlantic City and Atlantic County.”Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato wrote in their letter
Last month, in a letter to Governor Phil Murphy, Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato asked the Governor to ease the restrictions and allow indoor conventions. In their letter, the assemblymen outlined that the conventions and trade shows account for “over $1.9 billion in economic impact to the city of Atlantic City”.
In light of recent spikes of positive COVID-19 cases, last week Governor Murphy urged New Jersey residents to take the pandemic seriously. With that in mind, the Governor’s office is yet to reveal if easing of the indoor restrictions is considered or not.