For months now, casinos in Atlantic City have been struggling to get back to some sense of normalcy amidst the coronavirus pandemic. After reopening in early July, players were able to come back and enjoy gaming but beverages and dining were not allowed. Now, Governor Phil Murphy has lifted a ban on indoor dining and facilities can resume operations at a smaller capacity then before.
Indoor Dining Restart This Friday
This coming Friday, indoor dining can resume in AC. This means casino restaurants and bars will be able to offer services once more, though the capacity limits are low at 25%. Employees who have been furloughed since March can now return to their jobs, a welcome sight among those who have been wanting to get back to work.
When casinos were allowed to reopen in early July, the venues expected to offer food and beverage in some form. However, right before the reopening date of July 2, the governor decided to shut down indoor dining due to the increased number of coronavirus cases in the area. This led to the Borgata delaying their reopening for weeks as they wanted to provide visitors with the best experience possible and did not feel they could without some form of dining.
After the announcement was made by the governor yesterday, casinos in Atlantic City began to respond. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City president Joe Lupo commented they are pleased to resume indoor dining. The change will allow the Hard Rock to bring valued team members back to work.
The Hard Rock has offered outdoor dining, but the weather has caused issues. With indoor dining, guests can relax and enjoy their meal without worrying about any underlying weather conditions.
Who Will Open Back Up First?
It is unclear if the casinos in AC will be ready to offer indoor dining quickly. Many casinos will continue to offer outdoor options if the weather permits. They will also focus on getting back to indoor dining services. At the time of the announcement, casinos were working on their options and considering when they can begin offering services again.
Resorts Casino Hotel has plans to offer both outdoor and indoor dining. The Ocean Casino Hotel seems to be working out its options, so they suggest visitors check their website to find updated information on indoor dining options.
For the Borgata, they are ready to offer indoor dining services. They announced the pop-up outdoor options of Borgata Street Eats and The Water Club, will no longer offer services starting on Friday. Signature restaurants like Izakay by Michael Schulson, Angeline by Michael Symon and Bobby Flay Steak will reopen on Friday.
It will be interesting to see if the reopening of indoor dining will spur more traffic to Atlantic City. Have players stayed away due to the lack of dining options? Or has the virus played a role in the behavior of players? Only time will tell if this change will result in more action for AC.