The casinos in Atlantic City reopened in July. Since that time a total of 251 COVID-19 cases have been reported among employees who work in the gaming industry in some form or fashion. Of that number, over 60% of these cases took place in October. Employees of a casino hotel recorded 172 cases while 79 cases were among people who work in the restaurant and bar sector of the city.
Low Overall Cases Due to Quality Health and Safety Standards
The 251 total cases in Atlantic City among the employees is just over 1% of the entire workforce based on data from September. This is a relatively low percentage and analysts as well as casino executives say the number is low due to the health and safety precautions that casinos have implemented upon reopening after the COVID-19 closure.
An in-depth reopening plan was introduced in the state that was created by several groups including UNITE HERE Local 54 union, AtlantiCare and the Casino Association of New Jersey. Gaming as well as state health officials were also involved.
The plan included actions and procedures that would make the casinos safer for employees and guests. Everyone on-site must wear a mask and employees are subject to routine temperature checks. Barriers are in place for those at the table games seats along with slot machines spaced out for social distancing.
Casinos also took it upon themselves to implement additional strategies to ensure the health and safety of everyone within their facilities. Regional president of Caesars Entertainment Inc. and president of the CANJ, Steve Callender, said that the strict safety protocols that are in place along with regulatory oversight, security measures, social distancing, masks and many other steps are working to ensure the venues are protected.
Recent Slight Increase
While the protocols seem to be working, there has been an alarming increase in positive COVID-19 cases overall in Atlantic City as well as New Jersey. The majority of the cases among casino employees were recorded in October.
Governor Phil Murphy has stated that if the positive case count continues to increase, he will consider implementing harsher restrictions. Right now, casinos and indoor dining are restricted to 25% capacity. The region just reopened beverage service two months ago and that might be something the governor chooses to cut if the numbers do not start to trend downward again.
The casinos continue to point out how well they have done to protect employees and guests. Operators are hoping the industry will not be restricted as they try to recover from the COVID-19 closure.
In nearby Pennsylvania, the state has reported a less than 1% total for casino employees testing positive for COVID-19. Among the 16,000 employees in the state, only 108 cases are surfaced. The Rivers Casino has the most cases at 28 while the Parx has 25.
Parx reported over 1.4 million people have visited the venue since it reopened almost five months ago. The casino currently has over 1,900 employees working and none of the 25 employees that did test positive needed hospital treatment.