In the last couple months there has been a desperate need for Atlantic City and its casinos to fully reopen in order to recoup some of the money lost over this year. Lockdown has had a hugely negative impact on the popular gambling resort. Most of the reopened casinos have still struggled with sales in spite of the easing of restrictions, something we looked into here.
Up to this point in the gradual reopenings, restrictions were eased only very slightly on a weekly or monthly basis. The reopened casinos have seen a glimmer of hope in permission for a full reopening this week, with further easing of restrictions. Governor Phil Murphy has ordered changes which are welcomed by casinos in Atlantic City.
Not Normal, But a Resumption of Certain Normal Activities
The law Gov. Murphy signed last Tuesday has established new, more relaxed rules on indoor dining across the state of New Jersey. Among the changes, the reopened casinos of Atlantic City will once again be able to offer visitors floor service. This is a critical aspect of what people enjoy about the casino experience and it has been welcomed by resorts.
Another aspect of this bill will be that smoking can once again resume in casinos with AC. Believe it or not, the restrictions around smoking have been a key part of why many have not returned to the casino.
Speaking on his actions, Gov. Murphy stated:
“Given the progress we continue to see statewide, and with the proper precautions and limitations in place, I am proud that we can take this step today to allow our restaurants to once again welcome patrons back for indoor dining services”
“Our job now is to ensure that this resumption only leads to future expansions of indoor capacity limits, and that we do not have to take a step backward.”
News Welcomed By Casinos and Restaurants Alike
It is not just the reopened casinos that have welcomed this news. Those in the restaurant industry are also happy with the move to expand capacity limits. Marilou Halvorsen, President of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association spoke to the Press of Atlantic City about the announcement:
“”We are excited to see the announcement allowing the start of indoor dining,”“This has been a long road and I appreciate the Governor and his team communicating with the association and members of the industry. The industry is ready for a safe reopening and getting New Jerseyans back to work. We look forward to the next phase.”
A Rundown of What The New Rules Will Look Like
Here is a quick breakdown of some of the new rules which have come into force across the state:
– Seating limited to 8 people per table inside, tables distanced by 6 feet
– Customers can only consume food and beverages whilst seated
– Face coverings to be used when indoors, except when eating or drinking
– Doors and windows to remain open where possible
Ensuring Maximum Health For The Reopened Casinos and Restaurants
Naturally the aim is to get the economy moving again and to support casinos and restaurants in their efforts to get back to business. The fine balance to be struck, of course, is in making sure that any easing of restrictions is done with the health of visitors in mind.
To this end, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli spoke about the new measures that will be in place.
“Sitting at a table inside a favorite restaurant and enjoying a good meal with family and friends has been a shared missed experience for New Jerseyans. The measures outlined in this directive will help ensure that restaurant-goers and staff alike remain healthy and protected from the spread of COVID-19.”
Massively Positive News For Atlantic City
The reopening process has been a gradual one, as we covered in this piece; visitors and tourists are yet to return. Much of this has been down to the fact that the casino experience just isn’t the same as it once was. The rules we discuss in this report worked well for restaurants but less so for the reopening casinos.
As simple as it may sound, that Gov. Murphy now allows casino-goers to sit down at a table, have drinks brought to them and enjoy a cigar as they play, will have a huge impact. The hope is that we see further easing of restrictions going forward and that this will inspire more to visit the casinos here in Atlantic City.