Back in early July, Atlantic City casinos reopened after being close for 100 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was the longest stretch that the casinos were closed since the original opening in 1978.
When the casinos opened back up, they had strict protocols in place for guests and employees like mandatory masks and social distancing. Casinos were also not allowed to serve food or alcohol, along with dining rooms staying closed to help limit the spread of COIVD-19.
Now, after eight weeks of casino restaurants staying closed, Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the ban on indoor dining. On Monday, restaurants were allowed to have 25 percent capacity and serve food and drinks.
Pandemic impact in Atlantic City
The coronavirus has not been kind to any industry, especially casino. MGM resorts just announced that 18,000 employees would be laid off, and this could be the tip of the iceberg.
However, Atlantic City is receiving good news as they can open indoor dining for the first time since the lockdown. Casinos are currently operating at 25 percent capacity, but the dining aspect of the casino experience should help continue recovery.
“We are very pleased to resume indoor dining this Friday, allowing us to bring valued team members back to work,” said Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. “We have seen tremendous success with our outdoor dining venues, although weather variables have been a real challenge. Opening indoor dining brings back a key amenity that our guests know, love, and deserve.”
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, New Jersey casinos and sports betting were down 21 percent from July of last year. They also lost over $100 million when the casinos were closed for the whole second quarter of 2020.
Things have not been easy on them and probably will not have a full recovery until the pandemic is over. However, if they can make it through the tough times and do as best as they can with a limited capacity, things will be alright when life is back to normal.
Indoor Dining and Beyond
Under Gov. Murphy’s orders, dining rooms will only be able to be at 25 percent capacity with at least six feet of space in between tables. Masks and social distancing will be required by patrons attending the restaurant.
A spokesperson for the Ocean Casino Resort said they would be able to bring back 150 employees with Gov. Murphy’s decision. This change in COVID-19 protocols could help save thousands of jobs around Atlantic City.
Now only will the casino restaurants return to work, but other surrounding spots will also be able to have some business come through their doors as well. This situation is not perfect, but their signs that are showing things are improving in the New Jersey and New York area, a spot that was the epicenter of the outbreak this spring.
Hopefully, things continue to improve, and casinos will be able to increase the capacity at their facilities. So far, positive signs continue to show through.
The news could also help New York casinos reopen as well. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he has good news for the casino later this week. If Atlantic City is able to reopen without causing a second outbreak, then maybe New York will follow their actions.