For months now, Atlantic City casinos have been operating based on strict COVID-19 protocols. The virus remains an issue in the region and without protocols in place, businesses could spread the virus on a high basis. This week, casinos in the region received a bit of good news from Governor Phil Murphy. Dining and beverage restrictions are no longer in place, which should help to boost revenue and foot traffic within casino venues.
No More Curfew
A previous cap of 10 pm is no longer in place at restaurants, bars, and casinos in New Jersey. In Atlantic City, this means patrons can visit past 10 pm and still be able to enjoy indoor dining and drinks. This is welcome news and a majority of the business at casinos happens at night. Without drinks or food, many patrons just skip visiting altogether.
Casinos, along with bars and restaurants, will also be able to offer services at 35% capacity. This is a bit higher than previously allowed, with a 10% increase. While this is not much, it will help to host larger groups of people who want to travel to the area and use casinos as their lodging space.
The statewide restrictions were lifted due to residents following the guidelines. In areas of the US where mask-wearing and social distancing is prevalent, the number of positive COVID-19 cases is decreasing. Governor Murphy pointed out that the responsibility of residents led to the removal of these restrictions. Steps are being taken forward due to the hard work of the public.
The timing of the executive order was basically perfect. This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday and Valentin’s Day is coming up. With the casinos now able to offer late-night service for dining and drinks, plus host more people, it allows the venues to plan big events around these days.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City President Joe Lupo pointed out that without question, the change is positive news for the industry. Lupo hopes more positive news will be seen in the future. Requests were made of the governor to lift these restrictions before Super Bowl Sunday. Officials in the county and city as well as the Casino Association of New Jersey lobbied the governor to make the move.
The change is certainly welcome and comes at a good time. Many restaurants and bars were no longer taking patrons in the casino after 8:30 pm to be able to close up by the 10 pm curfew. Now that the restriction is no longer in place, these services will bring in far more revenues than they have in months due to the extended service hours.
While the change will not lead to a massive recovery for the state, it will be one way that casinos can start to gain ground. Any additional revenues are welcome, especially when the previous months have been low points when it comes to earnings.
It will be interesting to review the revenue reports over the next few months to see how the totals come out. Will there be a nice boost from month to month? At least in February, we can expect the numbers to be quite high thanks to the Super Bowl and Valentine’s holiday.