Atlantic City is a bustling gambling mecca that invites players from around the world to visit and play. With nine casinos in operation, tons of restaurants and plenty of entertainment, there is much to see and do in the region. However, after the onslaught of COVID-19 across the US, Atlantic City, like many other areas, is a ghost town. Locals are staying in their homes and players are unable to travel to the region due to travel restrictions and the fact that everything is closed.
As the federal government looks for ways to reopen areas of the US, what will that look like for Atlantic City? Is the Boardwalk ready to get going once again? Will employees and players be safe from the coronavirus if casinos are up and running?
Reopening the Economy
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy declared the state under a public health emergency on March 6th. Just over one month later, the governor extended the order through April 30th. Because of the order, all non-essential businesses are to remain closed, including casinos.
It is expected that the governor will make an update soon as to the reopening process. But what will he decide? If you look at the federal government guidelines for reopening, the phased process cannot even begin until a decline in COVID-19 cases are seen for a 14 day period. New Jersey is right next to New York, a hot spot of coronavirus cases.
So, will Governor Murphy go the same routes as others and choose to wait to reopen, following the federal guidelines? Or perhaps he will act like others, such as the governor of Georgia, and prepare to open in just days? It is unclear how the governor will choose to move forward. Some people want to get back to work and feel the virus is not a threat while others think that if states get back to normal too quickly, another outbreak will occur, much larger than the first.
Planning for the Future
While the state has yet to announce when businesses can get back to work, gaming operators are wasting no time with the prepping process. Already, the gaming venues hotels have decided on dates to begin taking reservations once again. For some, that date is May 1st. for others, the date is mid-May. Either way, the dates set by Atlantic City casino hotels will most likely change based on what the Governor say this week.
If players are looking to book a room once reservations are accepted, it is recommended to only book a room that offers a refund. You might not get your money back if you choose a rate that is non-refundable. Book the room well into the future so if the dates change, you are not stuck trying to book another trip.
Before casinos can get back to work, they will need the go-ahead and will most likely have to meet certain requirements before opening their doors. In Nevada, the Gaming Control Board recently provided procedures that are to be followed by operators in preparation of opening.
In New Jersey, it would not be surprising to see regulators providing something similar. Casinos will need to provide disinfecting of services as well as regular cleaning along with offering hand sanitizer and taking other actions in order to provide a safe environment for consumers.
It will certainly be interesting to see what develops and how things shape up for the gambling industry in Atlantic City as things move forward.