Atlantic City's Borgata delays reopening amid new restrictions on casinos in New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday postponed the resumption of indoor dining and banned drinking and smoking at Atlantic City's casinos as they reopen this week, causing one casino, the Borgata, to scrap plans to reopen anytime soon.

Murphy said he acted because of a lack of compliance over the use of face masks and social distancing as the coronavirus outbreak continues to rage in many parts of the country.

"I think it's the right choice, but I think it's unfortunate they were given two days notice," said Danielle DiDinoto of Egg Harbor Township. "I think it's unfortunate for all the restaurants who started purchasing food - all that good stuff - and now have to waste that money because they're not allowed to open."

Casinos are still permitted to reopen on Thursday at 25% capacity. But will they?

After the Borgata almost immediately scrapped their reopening plans, employees of other casinos wonder if the rest will follow suit.

"We just went back to work. We went through the safety procedures as far as precautions, and now we don't know," said Phyllis Pettus of Atlantic City.

At least two casinos - Resorts and Ocean Casino and Resort - still plan to open on Thursday.

Murphy also revealed he is banning smoking at reopened casinos, which could be a deal-breaker for some gambling halls.

Atlantic City last tried a smoking ban in 2008 but scrapped it after just 20 days of plunging casino revenue and disgruntled smokers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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