New Jersey will lift indoor mask mandates and social distancing requirements on May 28, though Atlantic City casinos can opt on the side of caution if they choose. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
COVID-19 restriction changes
Over the past few weeks, several states in the US have removed COVID-19 restrictions. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has signed Executive Order 242, pushing ahead with the reopening process for business. The order allows a mask mandate to be lifted along with social distancing restrictions.
The Governor released details of the upcoming restriction removal on Twitter:
In the casino industry, venues will be allowed to remove six-foot social distancing rules. Operators will have the authority to decide if they will continue to require masks for patrons and employees or remove the restriction.
Mask mandate lifted
Effective May 28, businesses and entities that oversee indoor spaces have the right to require masks or allow patrons and employees to go mask-free. The six-foot requirement is also effective on the same day. Casinos can choose to continue to have the social distancing restrictions in place if they wish.
By June 4, the general indoor gathering limit will be removed. Currently, this limit is set at 50 people. Larger gathering limits set at 250 people will no longer be in place, which should help conventions and big events come back to Atlantic City casinos.
New Jersey has been able to reach COVID-19 benchmarks over the past few weeks, leading to the decision to remove the restrictions. There has been an increase in vaccinations, contributing to the decrease in the number of positive cases.
Governor Murphy pointed out that his administration used science, data, and facts to help put the Garden State on the road to recovery. The state made the health and safety of its residents as a top priority.
the last two weeks have shown significant decreases in key areas of our data”
“Together, we have made tremendous progress in crushing this virus, and the last two weeks have shown significant decreases in key areas of our data, including new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, spot positivity rates, and rates of transmission,” the governor said.
More than 4.7 million New Jersey residents have received at least one vaccine shot.
Casinos in the state have already gone back to 100% capacity, beginning on May 19. In early May, the governor announced that the venues could open fully thanks to the progress the state has made regarding the pandemic.
Masks dropped across US gaming industry
For the past few weeks, several states have lifted mask mandates inside casino venues. One of the first to do so was Mississippi. In late April, the state’s Gaming Commission said that casinos have the ability to set their own COVID-19 safety guidelines. Casinos in the state will continue to practice regular cleaning and disinfecting as a precautionary measure.
In Las Vegas, gaming operators have been busy announcing mask policy changes for the vaccinated. Wynn Las Vegas and Encore were among the first to announce the modifications, allowing vaccinated individuals to visit without the need to wear a mask.
MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. are among those who have adopted similar stances on masks. Each venue has slight differences in policy, but in general, they have removed the mask requirement for vaccinated guests.