New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is hopeful that casinos in Atlantic City can be reopened on or around July 4th.
Murphy said that while his administration is “trying like heck” to push forward with letting venues open their doors again, various factors make the situation complex.
Both casino owners and local officials are being worked with so that an efficient reopening plan can be put together and an official date announced.
Casinos in New Jersey have been closed since March 16th to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Too Early for an Official Date
While the Governor has said that “it’s probably still too early to give you a specific answer” with regards to an exact reopening date, it’s believed that this will be around Independence Day.
Murphy is concerned that casinos pose a unique collection of difficulties, such as stagnant air. He is also taking into account that staff and customers will likely be in close proximity to one another.
With the above in mind, he has yet to determine what casino floors will look like in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. On the AC Mike Show on WOND, he said the following.
“We’re spending a lot of time with the owners and operators as well as the workers and their representatives on casinos.
“The bad news is casinos sort of have the attributes that are hardest to deal with this virus. It’s indoors, no ventilation. You’re sedentary, you’re in close proximity.
“Having said that, they’re big footprints and we think there are successful steps that can be taken to address the challenges.”
Although New Jersey casinos haven’t opened yet, one can look elsewhere for an idea as to how they may look when they do.
Casinos that have opened elsewhere in the US have enforced both social distancing and a smaller-than-usual capacity. On top of this, all entrants must be screened before they step on the premises.
Others have kept parts of their casino floors, such as poker tables closed for the time being to discourage crowding.
New Jersey Beginning to Get Back to Normal
Although land-based casino floors in the Garden State are still closed, some have reopened their hotel facilities.
On Monday, it was announced that ‘stage two’ of the pandemic recovery will commence in the coming weeks. From June 15th, outdoor dining areas and nonessential retail outlets will be allowed to welcome customers again.
From the following week onwards, hair salons and barber shops will be permitted to recommence with business.
A specific date hasn’t yet been set for gyms, libraries, museums and a selection of government offices. However, they are also part of the stage two reopening plans.
US Casino Industry Getting Back on its Feet
In states such as Oklahoma, casinos have already started to welcome players back – albeit at limited capacity.
Meanwhile, Twin River Worldwide Holdings has revealed that it’s planning to reopen 90% of its US casino venues from next Monday (8th June). The Delaware-based Dover Downs Hotel commenced with swinging its doors back open yesterday.
In Mississippi, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi restarted operations on May 21st. It did so in accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s new measures and requirements.
Twin River plans to have all of its venues reopened by July. Twin River President and Chief Executive George Papanier commented on this.
His thoughts were as follows.
“We are very excited to continue to progress on our reopening plan.
“As evidenced by our successful reopening at Hard Rock Biloxi, there is strong market demand for which we are well-positioned as a regional gaming company focused on local and regional visitation.”