s the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City opened its doors to invite-only guests on Thursday, all nine of the city’s casinos are now open following a nearly four-month shutdown because of the coronavirus.
The Borgata began welcoming back a small group of invited guests to the property yesterday, and the casino hotel will open to the general public at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Like the rest of Atlantic City’s casinos, Borgata is operating with reduced capacity and no indoor dining, smoking or drinking on the gaming floor. Masks must be worn by everyone on the property, guests’ temperatures are taken upon arrival and social distancing guidelines are being adhered to, with polycarbonate dividers at table games and every other slot machine turned off.
Borgata’s health and safety protocols mirror those in place at other casinos operated by parent-company MGM Resorts International, such as touchless food and beverage menus, no valet service and two handwashing stations on the casino floor. After consultation with medical professionals, MGM put together a seven-point plan that is used across the company’s portfolio of properties.
The property declined to reopen earlier this month after Gov. Phil Murphy reversed course on allowing indoor dining just days before casinos were set to resume operations. Borgata President and Chief Operating Officer Melonie Johnson said it was important for Borgata and MGM to have the reopening resemble an experience guests had come to expect from the property. “It was never our intent to open first in the Atlantic City market,” Johnson said Thursday, The Press of Atlantic City reports. “We wanted to make sure that when we opened, we opened safely, for our employees and our guests.”
Almost all of the available outdoor space at Borgata, and its sister property The Water Club, has been utilized for food and beverage offerings. The Borgata Beer Garden is a full restaurant and bar next to the outdoor pool, and Borgata Street Eats features a taco truck and alcohol, with tent seating for nearly 90 people nearby. The SunBar at The Water Club offers outdoor dining after 3 p.m. for more than 100 people. For now, certain amenities like salons and spas at Borgata remain closed.
Borgata management is also hoping sports fans will still place their bets at the sportsbook. Guests can watch the game on the big screen inside, but without food or drink. "Major League Baseball is opening and we're a week out from the NBA and the NHL. But it's still going to be a little bit different when you can't walk into a filled to capacity sports book and sit there and watch in a community experience like you're used to in the past," said Tom Gable, Borgata's Director of Race and Sports, as reported by WPVI.
For high-rollers, Borgata transformed the indoor pool and adjacent garden into a player’s lounge with covered outdoor seating. “We took the time to reassess and strategize, and what we’ve come up with — I have to give kudos to the food and beverage department — what we have right now to offer our guests is amazing,” Johnson said.