Back in mid-March, Governor Murphy closed down all New Jersey casinos to help stem the tide of COVID-19 cases. That included those in Atlantic City. Now that the state has begun to reopen (Margate and Ventnor restaurants now allow outdoor dining), all eyes turn to local hotels and casinos. Just last week, several casinos started releasing their reopening plans that include how they plan on handling the public’s health concerns. When will they be opening and what can we expect the new normal to be for Atlantic City casinos?
Atlantic City Casinos
When Will They Open
Next weekend is the 4th of July. The Boardwalk always fills up to celebrate our nation’s independence. With that in mind, Atlantic City casinos have been working feverishly to create a safe environment that follows CDC and state guidelines in a bid to reopen. Ocean Casino Resort plans to open on July 2nd. Bally’s, Caesar’s, and Harrah’s all plan to open their doors on July 3rd. The Borgata plans on waiting out the 4th of July weekend. They plan their grand reopening at 10 am on July 6th. Of course, much like the rest of the world, their business model has had to make some changes.
What to Expect
Remember the days of smoky, overcrowded floors? Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at the slot machines or squeezing into a seat at a table. Those days are gone. (That’s not really a bad thing, is it?) Both employees and guests must now wear masks while on the casino floor. Casinos plan on utilizing temperature checks daily of all employees. Don’t be surprised if they also require temperature checks of guests as they enter the facility. (Not all will.) When playing slots by yourself or with a group of people, an empty chair separates you/your group from the next person/group at all times. In some casinos, every other machine will be turned off to encourage safe social distancing. At the tables, many casinos put up plexiglass between the dealer and the players as well as each individual player. Other casinos removed chairs from tables so that they could distance players from one another. Hand sanitizing stations have been set up all over the casino floor as well.
Is this the new normal or a temporary change? That all depends on how the rate of COVID-19 cases goes after reopening. Governor Murphy will allow casinos and their restaurants to operate at 25% capacity for now. If we want businesses to return back to 100%, we need to all do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please wear your masks whenever social distancing is difficult. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds at a time. And don’t touch your face. Together, we can get through this.