ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa reopened its doors to the general public Sunday afternoon. It’s the last casino to get back in business since the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just won a whole lot of money and I’m feeling fabulous,” Brenda Cook, of Atlantic City, said. “I put $20 in the machine and I won big today.”
The good times are once again rolling at the Borgata. After being closed to the general public since mid-March, the casino floor is open for business.
— Howard Monroe (@HMonroeNews) July 26, 2020
“There’s nothing worse than a casino with no people,” Melonie Johnson, president of the Borgata, said. “What makes the casino come to life is our employees and our customers.”
But while they are open, there are some changes.
Casino executives say they’ve implemented a seven-point safety plan that includes reducing capacity to just 25%, temperature checks for employees and guests and handwashing stations were installed on the casino floor. Plastic barriers were installed to separate customers and dealers at the tables, and every other slot machine was disabled.
“You really can’t talk to people because you have plexiglass behind you, it’s hard to interact with the dealer again because of plexiglass, but I guess this is the new normal,” Jeff Rutizer, of Philadelphia, said. “You have to take it or leave it.”
Face masks must be worn at all times inside the casino.
“Right now, we are accepting this as our new normal,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to make sure that we abide by all state mandates.”
The Borgata is the last casino to reopen in Atlantic City. The others opened leading up to the Fourth of July.
Management held off reopening because indoor dining still isn’t allowed in New Jersey. As a result, the Borgata has expanded its outdoor dining. Room service is also available 24/7.
According to the state’s gaming division, in June alone, gambling revenue was down over 65% compared to June of 2019.
For the people at the casino, they’re just happy to be winning again.
“I’m so God blessed, so thank you Borgata for making my day,” Cook said.