Atlantic City Casinos Stay Open with Safety Measures in Place
It’s not your normal Thanksgiving Weekend at Atlantic City casinos, but they will make do.
Bally’s, Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Harrah’s, Ocean, Resorts and Tropicana are all open for business under current coronavirus restrictions and protocols as New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. is facing a second wave.
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And if your Thanksgiving tradition is to have turkey and then visit the casinos, they will be open Thursday.
Atlantic City casinos have been reopened since July after a four-month lockdown by Gov. Phil Murphy, the last one being Borgata on July 26, and they are operating with reduced capacity. Murphy said the casinos have been diligent with new safety protocols.
“We believe, based on the evidence that we have, that they’ve been able to responsibly manage their casino floors,” Murphy said last week when considering more restrictions in Atlantic City. “Whether it’s through personal protective equipment, whether it’s through dividers, capacity management, temperature checks, review of symptoms checks with people who go onto the floor, which is happening in all the casinos … there is not any evidence that there is either bad management of the floor or that there is a big outbreak coming from participating on the floor.”
Philadelphia, which is 60 miles from Atlantic City, shut down its casino and sportsbooks and Nevada has tightened its restrictions even more to handle the surge of coronavirus cases.The Rivers Casino Philadelphia (the only casino within the city limits) and South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook closed on Nov. 20 until at least Jan. 1 under updated restrictions by the city of Philadelphia. Other casinos in Pennsylvania remain open.
Safety Protocols at AC Casinos
In Atlantic City, there is no indoor dining, smoking or drinking on the game floor; masks must be worn at all times from employees to guests; temperatures are taken upon arrival to each property and social distancing guidelines are being met.
Dividers have been installed at all table games, every other slot machine is being operated and other protocols are being met and adhered to at each individual property.
On Wednesday, New Jersey reported 4,383 more COVID-19 cases with 48 additional deaths — the most announced in one day in more than four months — while hospitalizations increased for the 25th straight day.
Nevada Implements New Restrictions
On Sunday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak — who had avoided tightening restrictions due to the havoc they could have on the state’s tourism-based economy — announced plans to tighten restrictions on casinos, restaurants and private gatherings in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The new restrictions went into place on Tuesday and reduce the capacity limits for high-risk areas including restaurants, bars, gyms, places of worship and casinos.
Most Nevada businesses have operated at 50% since the summer and the new restrictions limit capacity to 25% or 50 people, whichever is less, according to the Associated Press. That means large venues, with capacities in the thousands, can only allow 50 people in, while smaller restaurants and bars that normally accommodate fewer than 200 people will only be allowed to accept 25% of their total capacity.
Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.