With some pomp and a big pair of scissors, Caesars welcomed back patrons to its three casinos in Atlantic City on Friday morning.
Social distancing at all Caesars casinos
Guests were asked questions to determine their health before entering the casino floor. This was the norm for all Atlantic City casinos reopening this weekend. And it is part of the requirements from the state and the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Once on the casino floor, gamblers found many social distancing and hygiene modifications. They included inactive slot machines and plexiglass partitions at table games. There were limits on elevator capacity as well.
“Today is an exciting day because we get to welcome back our team members and guests to Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Bally’s and look forward to making new memories together,” said Ron Baumann, regional president for Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City before he cut the ribbon.
“Our health and safety protocols are at the forefront of our signature brand of hospitality, while continuing to offer a fun and enjoyable experience for guests. At the same time, we are excited to launch a first for us — al fresco dining experiences at each resort, starting today, just in time for the holiday weekend.”
The atmosphere inside Caesars casino was quiet and a bit cautious, but those who arrived for the July Fourth holiday seemed ready for business as usual.
Table games were open, with partitions separating players and dealers. Clusters of slot machines had some offline, like the middle two in a row of four. And “Clean Team” members were wiping down machines and seats regularly.
Outdoor dining replaces indoor dining
While Baumann said reservations were near capacity for the weekend, that’s a reduced capacity of 25%, as mandated by the state.
There was plenty of space to walk around the casino and other public areas of Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s.
With the ban on indoor dining and drink service, more amenities appeared closed than open Friday. Some food venues were open for takeout service, but there was no one at the large bar on Caesars’ first floor.
Conspicuously absent as well were the cocktail servers who usually populate gaming floors. In their place was the busy cleaning team.
In lieu of traditional restaurant settings, many casinos will offer outdoor options, including seating along the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.
Caesars, for its part, features a rooftop option at each property. Gordon Ramsay’s Steak will be atop the Harrah’s at the marina, Guy Fieri will bring “Flavortown” chops to the top of Bally’s, while Caesars’ signature Nero’s will be truly al fresco on the decks outside the spa.
Caesars retail sportsbooks closed … for now
One major curveball for eager NJ sports betting fans? All Caesars sportsbooks will remain closed in Atlantic City.
For how long? The Book(s) at Bally’s and Harrah’s are closed until pro sports return, Baumann said after the opening ceremony. The NBA, NHL and MLB plan to restart their seasons later this month.
“There’s not a lot of interest right now or things to bet on,” Baumann said.
“By the end of the month, if the NBA sticks to their plan, if the NHL sticks to their plan, all that, then we’ll reopen the books and start taking bets.”
The Caesars online sportsbook, however, remains open for business.