Gov. Murphy's decision Monday to postpone the state’s Phase 2 coronavirus reopening plan, a return to indoor dining in New Jersey scheduled for Thursday, caught most South Jersey's eating establishment's off guard.

Atlantic City's casinos are no exception. The casinos, which have been shuttered now for over three months, need the draw of restaurant dining and drinking to enhance the casino experience.

Monday night, the governor clarified that smoking would also be banned in the casinos during this week's scheduled reopening.

Murphy revealed the smoking ban in a press release  Monday night. The release also confirmed verbal reports from earlier in the day that the administration was prohibiting the serving of alcohol on the casino floor when casinos reopen.

Murphy cited recent scenes from expanded outdoor bar and restaurants showing packed crowds not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing as a reason for pausing indoor dining indefinitely.

Atlantic City tried a smoking ban in 2008, but quickly dropped it after just 20 days when casino revenue plunged and gamblers complained. Since then, smoking has been restricted to no more than 25% of the casino floor.

Already without any entertainment, and, at a 25% capacity limit to start, the decision to halt a return to indoor dining and serving alcohol indoors proved too much for Atlantic City's market leading casino, Borgata.

Shortly after the governor's reversal on Monday, Borgata Casino and Hotel announced they have decided not to reopen under these circumstances.

 Given this decision, our property Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City will remain closed. Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the Governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage.

At this writing, the rest of Atlantic City's casinos will still reopen either Thursday or Friday of this week.

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