Atlantic City Casinos Reopen to Strong Criticism on Safety Measures
After 108 days, Atlantic City casinos finally opened on July 2, but critics aren’t happy with health and safety regulations. While some are happy to see the resorts open, many believe that Governor Phil Murphy’s orders are too strict.
In the latest regulations, indoor dining, smoking, and eating are still prohibited at the resorts. Which has sparked debate throughout New Jersey, from union leaders and Murphy’s fellow Democrats.
Only five casinos are now open: Hard Rock, Golden Nugget, Ocean, Resorts Casino Hotel, and Tropicana. Meanwhile, Harrah’s and Bally’s will only see their “highest-loyalty members” come in, but Borgata won’t open “for the foreseeable future.”
New Rules for Atlantic City Casinos
In an announcement on June 22, Governor Murphy introduced the new policies for the casinos that chose to open, namely:
- First, Atlantic City casinos could only operate gaming floors at 25% occupancy at most.
- Second, slot machines will be limited to promote social distancing and will be disinfected regularly by employees.
- Thirdly, players have to sanitize their hands before sitting down at the plexiglass divided tables.
- Further regulations for the general public include wearing a mask at all times.
Overall, it looks like New Jersey is learning from Nevada’s mistakes, where a massive spike of infections nearly shut casinos again. Reportedly, because there was no statewide mask policy, and some patrons didn’t want to wear one.
New Gaming Experience Criticized
Part of the criticism for the new measures is focused on then bans of dining, drinking, and smoking at Atlantic City casinos. Following Gov. Murphy’s statement on Monday, some big names have spoken out, including Bob McDevitt, the Unite Here Local 54 president. While speaking about the policies, he stated banning these practices was “like running a hot dog stand with no condiments and no buns.”
Similarly, Steve Sweeney, the New Jersey Senate President, said that the ban has a direct impact on workers’ healthcare. However, Murphy countered with “indoor environments where it’s impossible to wear masks” are the “MOST DANGEROUS” for public transmission.
Still, the Senate is convinced that the Garden State is dragging its feet with allowing other businesses to open. This is as the United States breaks daily infection records and deaths globally.