New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday that Atlantic City’s nine operational casinos will resume operations on July 2 in time for the July 4 weekend.
The much-anticipated reopening of the gambling venues will mark the end of the longest stretch Atlantic City has gone without casinos since Las Vegas-style gambling was authorized in the East Coast seaside resort in the late 1970s.
Gov. Murphy said Monday that the properties will be able to reopen July 2 at 25% capacity. Guests and staff will be required to wear face masks around the casinos.
Atlantic City’s nine casinos, along with other non-essential businesses, closed doors March 16 to help curb the advance of the coronavirus. The July 2 reopening date confirmed by Gov. Murphy on Monday is in line with the projected timeline of the top official that he discussed with local media earlier this month.
The announcement was welcome news for both Atlantic City’s casinos and city leaders. Mayor Marty Small Sr. said Monday that the reopening of the gambling venues “is the first step to getting our economy back open” and that he hopes they will see “droves and droves of people here, in a safe way, for the Fourth of July weekend.”
Face Masks Mandatory at Atlantic City Casinos
Atlantic City casino visitors will be required to wear face masks when the properties reopen. Masks will also be mandatory for staff members. Gov. Murphy said Monday:
“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 want to enjoy themselves responsibly and those who need to go back to work, especially if those knuckleheads could be spreading Covid.”
In addition, casinos will be required to utilize temperature checks for all who enter Atlantic City’s casinos.
Gov. Murphy said that additional safety and health guidelines will be released in the coming days.
The July 2 reopening means that the gambling venues have about 10 days to prepare and train staff on the updated health and safety protocols.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City President Joe Lupo said that they are “very comfortable and confident” with the timeframe and that they will be able to reopen “safely and securely.”
Most of Atlantic City’s casinos have already released their reopening plans, but some of them will have to make certain adjustments in order to bring them in line with the state’s requirements. For instance, there were casinos that planned to recommend face masks, but they will now have to require them under state orders.
It was several weeks ago when Gov. Murphy indicated that the casinos would likely reopen in time for the July 4 weekend as the holiday is one of the busiest times of the year for Atlantic City’s gambling venues.
Jane Bokunwicz, coordinator at the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute for Gaming Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University noted that Atlantic City’s casinos “made 30% of their total net revenue for the year in the third quarter” over the past two years, “so the next three months are crucial for them to regain some financial stability.”
New Jersey’s racetrack will, too, reopen July 2.
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