‘Without guests we don’t get paid.’ Casino workers fearful of what new COVID restrictions mean for their jobs
As cases of COVID-19 rise around New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has put extra restrictions on indoor bars and restaurants. The establishments will have to stop serving food and alcohol past 10 p.m. starting on Thursday.
The restrictions also include Atlantic City’s casinos, causing some staff members to fear that the loss in revenue could lead to them losing their jobs.
“Without guests, we don’t get paid, so we don’t have a job then,’ says Kay Deleon, a housekeeper at Bally’s.
Gambling can continue to take place 24 hours, but food and drink service must be halted between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Will guests stay at the various hotels if they can’t eat or drink at night?
“The real gamblers, they might. Those who are adamant about their craft of losing money, they’ll still gamble. But the people who like to drink and gamble? Maybe, maybe not,” says Breon Marley, of Philadelphia.
Restaurant managers at the casinos say that the curfew will have a major impact because they are used to having late-night customers.
“Especially being in a casino, people dine later in the evening and the guest who comes in at 5 p.m. and dines with us and the guest who comes in at 10 p.m. and dines with us, there’s no difference between the two,” says Cuba Libre general manager Charlie Mulson.
Mulson says that not only is the restaurant losing an hour of revenue, but their bar seating. Murphy’s order also eliminates people sitting up at a bar.
“With the 25% occupancy and the 6 feet in between the tables…it still makes it difficult though to find extra seating somewhere else,” Mulson says.
The Casino Association of New Jersey state that all nine of Atlantic City’s casinos will continue gaming operations 24/7 despite the new curfew on indoor dining and beverage service.