It is a safe bet that Memorial Day 2021 is circled in bright red on every calendar in Atlantic City casinos.
The unofficial start of summer at the Jersey Shore is always a targeted date for the gambling parlors of Atlantic City. But, after missing out completely in 2020, this year’s holiday weekend will have a different feel at Atlantic City’s nine casinos.
Gamblers and guests will notice several differences inside Atlantic City casinos this Memorial Day, especially if it’s been a while since the last visit. Not only will there be a handful of new dining, gambling, and entertainment options, but New Jersey’s COVID-19 restrictions are loosening up ahead of the holiday.
Below is a quick primer for an upcoming trip to an Atlantic City casino.
COVID-19 protocols still looming at Atlantic City casinos
Lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be unavoidable at Atlantic City casinos this Memorial Day.
All guests and employees must continue to wear a mask, even for those who are vaccinated. Social distancing guidelines remain in place as well.
Temperature screenings will vary by property but should be expected upon entering a casino.
Smoking inside Atlantic City casinos is still prohibited except for designated hotel rooms. As a side note, recreational cannabis is now legal in New Jersey so the skunky smell will be prevalent both inside and outdoors.
Indoor bar seating is back. Buffets and self-serve-style restaurants can also resume normal operations.
The indoor capacity limit for casinos, restaurants, bars, spas, and pools will be lifted on May 19. That same day, capacity caps for indoor entertainment venues with more than 1,000 fixed seats can increase to 30%.
What will be new and different for Memorial Day weekend 2021?
Some things at Atlantic City casinos have changed a bit in the last 12 months, too. A handful of non-gambling options will be open or close to launching, while others are gone or remain closed.
Several of the casinos are renovating hotel rooms, updating table games and slot machines, or have new player rewards programs.
While no means a comprehensive list, here are some new things to keep an eye out for:
- Harrah’s Resort: Rum Point Crab House; The Baywalk (opening soon)
- Resorts: Dougherty’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar (opening soon)
- Ocean: The Cove (high-limit slot room)
- Bally’s: FanDuel Sportsbook; Jerry Longo’s Meatballs and Martinis (coming soon)
Hard Rock has a yet-to-be-announced restaurant coming this summer.
Borgata will have a new concept taking the place of Bobby Flay Steak, which is scheduled to close on June 30.
Bally’s is replacing Bucca di Beppo and Arturo’s with new restaurants as well.
Because of the new openings listed above, Gallagher’s Steakhouse/Gallagher’s Burger Bar at Resorts and Veracruz at Harrah’s are no more.
A few restaurants/bars never reopened last year following the 107-day industry shutdown due to COVID.
Among those shuttered spaces are Wolfgang Puck’s American Grille at Borgata, Olan and Okatshe at Tropicana, and 1927 Lounge and Speakeasy at Ocean.