In New Jersey and American casino operator MGM Resorts International has reportedly postponed the re-opening of its Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa after the eastern state opted to institute interim indoor smoking, dining and drinking bans.
According to a Monday report from the Associated Press news service published by USA Today, the 2,767-room property joined the eight other Atlantic City casinos in being temporarily closed down from March 16 due to the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. A little over 15 weeks later and the giant venue was purportedly planning to hold an invitation-only re-opening event on Thursday in advance of relaunching regular gambling operations from Monday under the aegis of a revised list of health and safety guidelines that include a 25% capacity ceiling.
However, the Associated Press reported that MGM Resorts International has now indefinitely postponed these plans after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (pictured) initiated the new coronavirus-related prohibitions. The news service detailed that the fresh restrictions are set to forbid guests at casinos in Atlantic City from smoking, dining or drinking while on the gaming floor.
Reportedly read a statement from the Las Vegas-based operator…
“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. The health and safety of our employees and guests are at the center of all that we do and we regret that, at this time, we are unable to welcome back the thousands of employees who are anxious to return to work. We look forward to a time when it is safe to welcome everyone back.”
Steve Callender, President for The Casino Association of New Jersey, reportedly told the news service that many other casinos in Atlantic City may now follow the lead of the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in choosing to delay their planned July 2 re-openings. He purportedly proclaimed that ‘no smoking is very bad for casinos’ as was indicated by a similar short-lived 2008 prohibition that caused gaming revenues to plunge dramatically.
Nevertheless, Murphy reportedly insisted that the new restrictions are necessary so as to keep ‘The Garden State’ from suffering through a second large outbreak of the highly-contagious coronavirus strain. The Democratic leader purportedly cited spikes in other states as well as anecdotal evidence that suggested many New Jersey residents were not wearing masks or have been failing to abide by social distancing protocols.
Reportedly read a statement from Murphy…
“Unfortunately, the national scene compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home are requiring us to hit pause on the restart of indoor dining for the foreseeable future. I don’t think it’s a matter of days but a matter of weeks. We have enormous sympathy but the alternative here is worse and unacceptable.”