Recently, many workers across Atlantic City in the food and entertainment sectors were overjoyed at the notion of going back to work. With lockdown restrictions being eased up and plenty of businesses reopening, many felt hopeful that a return to normalcy might be in the works. However, for workers in indoor dining and serving roles, this is still not the case.
Indoor restaurants, bars and eateries are still under scrutiny in Atlantic City – and across New Jersey as a whole – which has led many hospitality workers to feel disappointed as more people are returning to work. In this blog post, we’ll be examining the state of indoor dining in Atlantic City in more depth, and looking at how it fares for hospitality workers.
Are Atlantic City’s restaurants open right now?
Currently, outdoor dining with restaurants and bars is available all across New Jersey. The pandemic had forced companies to close all over the state, and many have only just got back on their feet with outdoor dining and takeaway options. It’s certainly been a difficult year for hospitality workers, so it’s good to know that some people were able to go back to work safely.
It’s only outdoor dining that is allowed in Atlantic City (and New Jersey as a whole) right now, though. Indoor dining, drinking and smoking are all banned – as we covered here – which has made the notion of returning back to casinos and restaurants quite strange. There is some level of normalcy with outdoor dining being allowed, but it doesn’t quite feel like Atlantic City yet.
What does that mean for workers?
As covered in this NBC article, a massive amount of workers were prepared to return back to their jobs in the food and hospitality industries- yet they were told at the last minute that they could not return. This is especially prevalent in the casino industry, which is something that makes up a huge part of Atlantic City’s culture.
The lack of a return to indoors dining left roughly 4,000 people without a stable source of income, and put many people into unfamiliar, scary situations. Casino bars, local restaurants and popular bars have all been left closed as the local officials have deemed it too risky to start opening things back up to the way that they were before.
How can businesses keep employees and customers safe in 2020?
As some businesses are reopening in New Jersey, it’s important to note that safety is everybody’s number one concern right now. Keeping employees and customers safe in environments like casinos and outdoor restaurants is absolutely essential, and should come before any other concerns.
Some of the safety measures that are being implemented include social distancing marks, protective screens and extensive sanitization procedures. Many places are involving mandatory masks too, as we covered in our Hard Rock Casino blog post, which is great to see. These processes may feel claustrophobic or irritating, but they’re absolutely essential.
New Jersey is a state that’s known for innovation and resiliency, and Atlantic City is a bustling hub of life and excitement in America. While it may be very disappointing to not see indoor restaurants or bars being opened right now, it’s important to remember that these measures have been put in place to protect employees and the customers as well.
It will be fascinating to see where Atlantic City ends up by the end of 2020. While 2020 is surely going to create further turbulence in the food and hospitality industries, we’re sure that people will be kept safe and protected by the local officials and government. New Jersey has performed well in regards to the pandemic so far, and we’re confident the state will continue to do so.
If you’re based in New Jersey and you’re looking to head out to an outdoor restaurant or park, do make sure to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. While some lockdown measures are being lifted, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that the pandemic is still ongoing. Wear a mask, keep socially distanced and be safe, no matter where you’re heading out to.
You may also be interested in reading the following article: Atlantic City Casinos Donate Unused Food During Closures