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Atlantic City casinos reopen after Covid-19 shutdown


Five casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, are set to reopen today (July 2) after being closed for more than three months due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy last month announced that casinos would be permitted to recommence activities from July 2, at a maximum capacity of 25% for the time being.

Casinos have been closed since March 16 as part of a ban on gatherings of up to 50 people in the state, in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Ocean Casino Resort, Resorts Casino Hotel, Tropicana Atlantic City and Golden Nugget Atlantic City have all advertised as opening today.

Caesars Palace Atlantic City, Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, and Harrah’s Atlantic City have announced they will reopen to customers from tomorrow.

However, MGM Resorts’ Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Atlantic City’s only other bricks and mortar casino, will remain closed for the foreseeable future after Governor Murphy this week postponed the reopening of indoor dining.

Governor Murphy said the current restrictions would remain in place as surges of Covid-19 cases in other states across the US were partly driven by the return of indoor dining.

“Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the Governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage,” the operator explained.

“The health and safety of our employees and guests are at the centre of all that we do, and we regret that, at this time, we are unable to welcome back the thousands of employees who are anxious to return to work.”

Governor Murphy’s ruling means that indoor dining will be prohibited at all casinos, though takeaway items and packaged goods will be available in some from. Casinos will be allowed to reopen outdoor dining areas.

However, despite this late change in restrictions, Tilman Fertitta, the owner and chief executive of Golden Nugget Casinos, said the reopening of casinos, even at limited capacity, is a “step in the right direction”.

“We are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and regulatory guidelines and taking all the prudent and essential measures to maintain a safe and clean environment for our guests and employees,” Fertitta said.