ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- The Borgata casino will reopen on July 26, the last of Atlantic City's nine gambling resorts to resume operating amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The casino will host an invitation-only "soft opening" starting July 23, Borgata officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday, and will open its doors to everyone three days later.
The top-performing casino in Atlantic City, the Borgata was the only one that did not to immediately reopen on July 2, the first day New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy allowed casinos to do so.
Three days earlier, the governor changed his mind and canceled permission for restaurants in the state to offer indoor dining, saying that the virus risk is still too great.
That caused casinos to scramble to make other plans, including setting up temporary outdoor quarters and offering grab-and-go bags that customers can eat outside or in their hotel rooms.
But the Borgata decided not to reopen immediately under those conditions. It then set about increasing its outdoor dining options, and finally reached a point where it made sense financially to announce it would reopen.
"Following the Governor's directive to postpone indoor dining, we took a step back to reassess our reopening date to ensure we could give our guests the world-class experience they expect from us, safely," Melonie Johnson, the Borgata's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
The casino has outdoor dining options including an outdoor beer garden; an area of food and beer trucks; poolside at The Water Club, an adjacent non-gambling hotel the Borgata owns; and an outdoor dining location for the casino's top-tier player's card members. It also will also offer room service.
Murphy ordered Atlantic City's casinos shut due to the virus on March 16.
They have been permitted to operate at 25% of capacity since July 2. The Borgata says it plans to bring back about 40% of its staff when it reopens.
Borgata to reopen July 26, last of Atlantic City's 9 casinos