New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday gave the thumbs up for casinos in the state to operate at 100% capacity starting May 19. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Welcome news for Atlantic City
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s announcement that casinos will return to 100% capacity starting May 19 will come as music to the ears of the nine commercial casinos in the resort mecca of Atlantic City.
The update, delivered Monday, follows similar announcements from the governor’s counterparts in New York State and Connecticut. Gov. Murphy went on to share news of the eased restrictions for Tri-state businesses via Twitter:
During the latest of his regular COVID-19 response meetings, Gov. Murphy included casinos, restaurants, amusement facilities, and more on his back-to-100%-capacity list. A rider attached to the loosened limitations is that six-foot social distancing and mask-wearing requirements continue to be observed.
six-foot social distancing and mask-wearing requirements continue
The governor added that, should the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revise its six-foot rule, “we will revise our requirements accordingly.”
Restrictions falling like ninepins
Gov. Murphy also announced Monday that indoor gathering limits will increase to 50% starting May 7, instead of three days later as previously stipulated.
New Jersey has walked its talk, making decisions on “public health metrics and not on politics.”
Murphy said the latest lifting of restrictions are “the most aggressive steps” the state has taken to reopen. He added that New Jersey has walked its talk, making decisions on “public health metrics and not on politics.”
A combined downturn of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations plus a rise in vaccinations in New Jersey has prompted Gov. Murphy – in a joint move with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont – to lift certain restrictions across the Tri-state area.
According to the Press of Atlantic City, Gov. Murphy highlighted that Atlantic City casino venues such as Ocean Casino Resort, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino could capitalize on the new rules. He said that the new “250-person limit per room, and the 30% capacity for large fixed-seating venues” could allow the casino resorts to host conferences.
“I’m not suggesting that it’s full-on open for business, but I think it’s a pretty meaningful step,” the governor elaborated.
Shots underpin state’s rosy outlook
The success of New Jersey’s vaccination drive has played a major role in the relaxing of restrictions. On March 30, Gov. Murphy said that the combined efforts of The Casino Association of New Jersey, AtlantiCare, and UNITE HERE Local 54 would result in the vaccination of 25,000 casino employees by Memorial Day.
On March 29, casino staff in Atlantic City started rolling up their sleeves for vaccinations at the Atlantic City Convention Center. According to an interactive map published by the New York Times on May 3, New Jerseyans have received over 7.4 million shots, with 37% of the population fully vaccinated.
Gov. Murphy can take a lot of credit for New Jersey’s appearance among the top ten of US states, territories, federal agencies – and three countries with special agreements with the US – to have the highest vaccination rates.
The governor is an active proponent of the state’s innovative vaccine outreach initiatives, from the religious-organization-facing ‘Grateful for the Shot’ to the craft brewery-targeted ‘Shot and a Beer’.