Decided the time was right

And then there were nine. Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa announced on Tuesday that it will finally reopen on July 26. For the three days before that, it will host a “soft” reopening only for invited guests.

Borgata is the last of Atlantic City’s casinos to reopen, permitted to do so on July 2. The Borgata, which had planned to reopen on July 6 after a similar invitation-only restricted reopening, decided not to after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy surprisingly announced that indoor dining in the state could not start again.

At the time, the casino said, “Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the Governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage.”

In Tuesday’s announcement, Borgata explained that it needed time to make sure it could deliver for its guests, adding:

When we reopen, Borgata will introduce new outdoor dining experiences, as well as a convenient takeout program from several of our fine and casual dining outlets. We appreciate our guests’ and employees’ patience and understanding and look forward to welcoming them back.

Stay safe

Naturally, there will be strict health and safety protocols put in place. Most of the casino’s gambling will be available, but Borgata’s popular poker room, home to several major events each year, will remain closed for now. Every other slot machine will be turned off and clear barriers will be installed at many table games.

Protective masks will be required for all guests and staff. Of course, as we have come to expect at this point, visitors will be screened before entering, social distancing protocols will be implemented, and hand washing stations will be setup.

The hotel will be open in a “limited capacity.” Housekeeping staff will wear masks and gloves while servicing rooms and are required to use a new pair of gloves for each room.

New Jersey doing its part

New Jersey’s casinos have been able to reopen because, despite it being a major hotspot in early spring, the state has done a better job than most at slowing the spread of COVID-19. It was second in confirmed cases to New York for a long time, but is now down to fifth. New daily case numbers have been fairly flat for the past month, generally ranging from 200 to 400 per day.

Compare that to other states and it shows how much better off New Jersey is right now. Florida has been looking at new case counts above 10,000 on a regular basis. California is routinely in the 10,000 range. Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and more are all exploding.

But Governor Sisolak isn’t relaxing. He kept the indoor dining ban going because of the “non-compliance” of people in businesses, calling those who don’t follow safety rules “knuckleheads.”

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