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Economy

NJ Sets Reopening of Atlantic City Casinos for July 2 at 25%

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Atlantic City's casinos will be able to reopen July 2 at 25% capacity, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

In a Twitter post, the Democratic governor also said indoor dining can resume on that date, with restaurants also operating at 25% capacity.

The city's nine casinos have been waiting for a reopening date for weeks, even as casinos in other states reopened.

"We're delighted to get the reopening date," said Joe Lupo, president of the hard Rock casino. "We thank the governor that we'll be able to be open for the July 4th weekend to meet the demand on the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk."

The governor said additional safety and health guidelines will be released in the coming days for casinos and restaurants.

Many of the casinos have been planning on their own for a reopening, and have adopted measures including increased hand sanitizers and social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But some were planning more stringent measures than others. For example, Hard Rock says it will require masks to be worn by all employees and guests, while some other casinos say they will recommend mask use for guests.

Lupo said he is confident that what Hard Rock was planning on its own will meet — and probably exceed — whatever standards the state imposes.

"Our air filtration is better than most hospitals," he said.

He also said the casino's player database will be able to assist health authorities with any contact tracing that may become necessary.

"With 85% of our customers being rated, we can provide details on when the played, for how long, which beverage servers were in the vicinity, which room they stayed in, where they ate," he said.

Resorts Casinos plans to utilize air ionization, and ultraviolet light as part of its sterilization protocols, and every other slot machine will be disabled to keep guests separated.

Atlantic City's casinos have been shut since March 16, and revenue has plunged since then.

The casinos had been informally planning to be open in time for the July 4 weekend, a goal Murphy had said he wanted to meet several weeks ago. The holiday is one of the busiest times of the year for Atlantic City casinos.

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