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State Senate panel advances bills to set standards for Atlantic City casinos

State Senate panel advances bills to set standards for Atlantic City casinos

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Atlantic City Casino shutdown

Tropicana Atlantic City Casino shutdown do to COVID-19 virus Monday March 16, 2020. New Jersey casinos announced they will be closing tonight at 8 PM. Edward Lea Staff Photographer / Press of Atlantic City

A state Senate panel on Tuesday advanced a pair of bills that would have the state Health Department set standards for Atlantic City’s nine casinos to meet before they can reopen.

They also would apply to hotels across the state.

“These standards will help to balance the need to return to work, and restart the economy with the safety of the workers, guests and patrons by codifying CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland, in a statement. “Hotels and casinos are anchor attractions for two of the most significant sectors of New Jersey’s economy, tourism and gaming. They should be kept safe and clean for workers and guests.”

The Democratic-sponsored bills would have the department set standards on disinfection of rooms, elevators, surfaces, kitchens, gambling floors and other high-traffic areas, as well as training of workers on safe practices. They would also require the continuation of social distancing standards, including a prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people.

“Hotels are high traffic, high interaction areas, with New Jersey welcoming more than 116 million visitors in 2019,” Sweeney said. “The comeback from the shutdown will be a sustained struggle for the hospitality industry, including hotels. These standards will improve the safety of guests and reassure them of protections.”

The Casino Association of New Jersey has already contracted with the AtlantiCare hospital system to do the same thing for the casinos, including developing recommendations on best operating and cleaning practices. No date has yet been given for reopening the casinos, which Murphy ordered closed on March 16.

Where does New Jersey stand with its reopening plan?

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