Atlantic City Won’t See Additional Covid-19 Restrictions in 2020

New Jersey got some good news recently, when officials in Trenton announced there would be no new Covid-19 restrictions on businesses. However, officials did announce 10 restaurants that will have their liquor licenses temporarily suspended for public health violations.

 In fact, Governor Phil Murphy encouraged New Jersey residents to out to their local restaurants, assuring that most of them were “doing the right thing”.

 “We’re trying to be as surgical as we can be,” said Murphy. “And, if you’re not doing the right thing, it may not be tomorrow but we’re going to find out and we’re going to catch you. And you will pay a price for that.”

Despite the Threat of More Covid-19 Restrictions, Business Owners are Relieved

 Able to breathe a sigh of relief through their masks, Garden State business owners were grateful that no new restrictions were levied against them, as new restrictions gripped neighboring in New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

However, it’s still hard for many New Jersey restaurant owners, with a limited capacity of 25% indoors and a 10:00 p.m. indoor dining curfew.

 Normally, Braddock’s Tavern in Medford hosts sold-out Christmas events featuring carolers and Santa Claus. But now, Braddock’s is attempting to bring its patrons some holiday cheer with a tent for increased outdoor dining.

 Braddock’s managing partner, Bob Wagner said, “We’re going to show movies. We’re going to put a screen in the tent. So, our guests can watch Elf, White Christmas while they’re having dinner.”

 Two weeks before Christmas, the co-owner of Wonder World Toys in Medford, Alex Breaux, was hoping there would be no more restrictions to hamper holiday shopping. She’s relieved her patrons can still come inside and shop for toys for their kids. But she added, that after this year that was full of unprecedented restrictions on small businesses, she’s ready for anything.

 “It’s been a crazy shift, learning how to do things during the new normal. So we opened an online store, we’ve also been doing curbside delivery, and also complimentary local delivery,” said Breaux.

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Gaming Revenue is Down in Atlantic City

While revenues at Atlantic City’s nine casinos are down, hospitality and gaming experts at Stockton University indicate that the sharp increase in online gambling has eased the pain of 2020, at least for the online operators. However, residents of Atlantic City still suffer from high unemployment rates, due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

 Hard Rock Hotel and Casino attempted to bring the holiday spirit to Atlantic City, by bringing back live music for the holidays with an indoor concert. However, the indoor concert was strictly limited to 10% capacity, so not many people could enjoy the show. Also, there were temperature checks at the door, mandatory masks, and small groups were seated in plastic pods. Yet, some people still managed to get into the holiday spirit, despite the new normal, Covid-19 restrictions.

 Nikki Balles of Hard Rock Atlantic City, detailed the restrictions; “Tables are at a minimum, six feet apart, they’re 10 feet apart in the front row, the tables are 10 feet from the stage. Just to ensure social distancing measures.”

Do Covid-19 Restrictions and Lockdowns Work?

The World Health Organization has stated, “Large scale physical distancing measures and movement restrictions, often referred to as ‘lockdowns’, can slow COVID‑19 transmission by limiting contact between people.

However, these Covid-19 restrictions can have a profound negative impact on individuals, communities, and societies by bringing social and economic life to a near stop. Such measures disproportionately affect disadvantaged groups, including people in poverty, migrants, internally displaced people and refugees, who most often live in overcrowded and under-resourced areas, and depend on daily labor for subsistence.”

Dr. David Nabarro, a WHO envoy, said Covid-19 restrictions should only be used as a last resort. “We at the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of the virus,” said Nabarro. He added that lockdowns have a severe impact on places that rely on tourism, such as Atlantic City.

“Lockdowns have just one consequence that you must never, ever discount, and that’s making poor people a whole lot poorer,” Nabarro said.

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