New Jersey casinos, indoor dining to reopen at 25% capacity July 2

As New Jersey continues to move towards reopening, Governor Phil Murphy has laid out guidelines to allow Atlantic City's casinos and restaurants to reopen.

Murphy Monday morning announcement came as the city's nine casinos have been waiting for a reopening date for weeks, even as casinos in other states reopened.

On Thursday, July 2, casinos will be permitted to reopen at 25% capacity. Indoor dining will also be allowed to resume at 25% capacity.

“We're delighted to get the reopening date,” said Joe Lupo, president of the hard Rock casino. “We thank the governor that we'll be able to be open for the July 4th weekend to meet the demand on the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.”

The governor said additional safety and health guidelines will be released in the coming days for casinos and restaurants.

Later in the day, Murphy announced, an immediate incease in the maximum number of people permitted for outdoor gatherings had been raised from 100 people to 250 people. Indoor gatherings are limited to 25% capacity but may not exceed 100 people. 

 The Garden State reopened personal care businesses Monday morning and just days after Murphy announced shopping malls would be permitted to reopen on June 29. 

Many of the casinos have been planning on their own for a reopening, and have adopted measures including increased hand sanitizers and social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But some were planning more stringent measures than others. For example, Hard Rock says it will require masks to be worn by all employees and guests, while some other casinos say they will recommend mask use for guests.

Lupo said he is confident that what Hard Rock was planning on its own will meet — and probably exceed — whatever standards the state imposes.

“Our air filtration is better than most hospitals,” he said.

He also said the casino's player database will be able to assist health authorities with any contact tracing that may become necessary.

“With 85% of our customers being rated, we can provide details on when the played, for how long, which beverage servers were in the vicinity, which room they stayed in, where they ate,” he said.

Resorts Casinos plans to utilize air ionization, and ultraviolet light as part of its sterilization protocols, and every other slot machine will be disabled to keep guests separated.

Atlantic City's casinos have been shut since March 16, and revenue has plunged since then.

The casinos had been informally planning to be open in time for the July 4 weekend, a goal Murphy had said he wanted to meet several weeks ago. The holiday is one of the busiest times of the year for Atlantic City casinos.

On Monday, New Jersey reported 329 new coronavirus cases and 27 news deaths. 




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The Associated Press contributed to this report.