As the U.S. sees another wave of COVID-19 this fall, Atlantic City is putting tighter restrictions on the casinos to limit the spread.
Starting this Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy orders casino restaurants to close from 10 pm-5 am to disinfect and clean high touch surfaces in the dining areas. This will allow casinos to continue to serve during higher activity hours and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Casinos are making out better than bars and restaurants in the area, however. Gov. Murphy is restricting indoor dining again for the area since cases are spiking.
Casinos will be restricted, and so will the operating hours of establishments in the area. The Garden State is nearing record highs of daily COVID cases. The numbers are just below what the state saw in early March when COVID originally hit the U.S.
Now, cases are on the rise again as the U.S. sees record all-time highs in daily cases.
New Jersey Restrictions
Fortunately for Atlantic City, casinos are not being forced to close entirely. The casinos do not even need to reduce the number of people that are allowed to enter. However, restaurants and dining areas in the casinos are restricted from 10 pm to 5 am.
Overall, it could be worse. Casinos have been operating at limited capacity since Atlantic City was able to reopen in early July. Limiting restaurant usage could affect whether people go to the casinos, but there should be no significant impact on the area.
However, restricting indoor dining could hurt the surrounding casinos as people like to make a night out of the casino by starting with a dinner before gambling.
That all changes on Thursday, with Gov. Murhpy needing to put restrictions to help slow down the coronavirus. The short-term restrictions are to help the area in the long-term. If they can temporarily slow the spread down, then casinos will remain open and keep bringing in business.
COVID vs. the Gaming Industry
Casinos and gaming operators have been doing everything possible to remain open during a pandemic. Last month, Meadowlands Racetrack had to close down to deep clean the facility after an employee tested positive for COVID and went into work.
Overall, New Jersey has been fortunate as no real outbreaks have happened from casinos. Even with New Yorkers crossing over into the Garden State. The spread has been relatively limited.
That is until recently as cases began to spike after Halloween weekend. This issue most likely came from that weekend, and now Atlantic City and casinos are paying the price. This isn’t just in New Jersey, either. Upstate New York has had some scares of COVID cases in the casinos.
Some employee workers have also tested positive, but the protocols in place have helped limit the coronavirus. New York also opened casinos in September while New Jersey did it in July. This could be why New York casinos are not seeing the restrictions, as is New Jersey.
As long as casinos can remain open, then Atlantic City will be fine.