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NJ Governor Allows Reopening of Casinos, In-Restaurant Meals

New Jersey's restaurants and casinos can restart July 2 at 25% capacity, but Gov. Murphy warns "knuckleheads" who disobey safety rules.
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said Monday on Twitter that the state’s casinos may reopen Thursday July 2 at 25% capacity, and in-restaurant dining may do the same.

“Additional health and safety guidance will be released within the next several days,” Murphy wrote in his tweet.

Murphy ordered casinos, dine-in restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to close March 17 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Those businesses have suffered big-time from the closures.

Revenue at Atlantic City’s nine casinos plunged 69% in April from the year-earlier month, according to the Associated Press. Prior to the pandemic, New Jersey’s casinos were beginning to rebound from years of losses.

In recent days, several casinos have unveiled safety measures they will adopt when they reopen. That includes barriers between gamblers and dealers at table games, temperature checks and required face coverings, the Newark Star Ledger reports.

“Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming have made a tremendous commitment to sanitary protocols and a safety-first mentality for both guests and team members,” Jim Allen, chief executive of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International, said in a statement.

“We are making sure our resorts are safe and sound so our guests and team members have peace of mind when they return.”

In an address after his tweet, Murphy had a warning for those who won’t obey safety rules.

"We’re not going to tolerate any knuckleheads trying to ruin it for those who wish to enjoy themselves responsibly," he said, according to WCAU/NBC-TV in Philadelphia. They can expect expulsion.

As of Sunday, 12,870 people died from the coronavirus in New Jersey, with 169,142 people infected, according to the Star Ledger.