As of July 2, Atlantic City casinos are back in business after New Jersey shut them down in March due to coronavirus concerns.
Of the city's nine casinos, five—Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Ocean, Resorts, and Tropicana—are reopening on Thursday. Bally's, Caesars, and Harrah's follow on Friday. After delaying its planned reopening at the last minute, the Borgata will remain closed for the time being.
Things inside the casinos will be a lot different than before the pandemic—and one of the biggest changes was handed down just this week, when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Monday pausing the resumption of indoor dining in the state's restaurants.
Enacted in response to spiking infection rates across the country (though not in New Jersey, where cases have gone down significantly since their scary peak in the spring), the extension of the ban on indoor eating and drinking sent Atlantic City casinos scrambling to update reopening plans and prevented the businesses from rehiring servers and bartenders who had expected to go back to work, according to the Associated Press.
Now, visitors will not be allowed to eat or drink anything inside the casinos. Restaurants can only offer takeout that must be eaten outdoors or in hotel rooms. Bars on the beach and the Boardwalk will be allowed to operate with social distancing.
The governor also imposed a ban on smoking inside casinos.
Guests must wear masks inside public areas and get temperatures checked to enter a casino. Owners promise to give extra cleaning attention to guest rooms, bathrooms, and frequently touched surfaces on casino floors. Available slot machines are staggered, and, in many cases, plastic barriers divide players at table games.
Outside, many beaches are open; the Atlantic City tourism website maintains a list of available options. Takeout restaurants, bars, and some bathrooms are accessible along the Boardwalk. The Steel Pier amusement park is operating again, too.
Avoid crowds when visiting any of the above sites and please, we're begging you in the name of all that is holy, wear a mask.