After the unprecedented closure of all nine Atlantic City, NJ casinos since March 16, 2020, all but one reopened during the July 4th holiday weekend. The one holdout was the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. However, the Borgata will reopen to the public at 10 a.m. on July 26.
Borgata Reopens – Better Late Than Never
Initially, Borgata AC had planned to reopen to the public on Mon., July 6 following a soft reopening for invited guests July 2-5. However, just days before the anticipated reopening, Gov. Murphy revoked his previous order to allow indoor dining.
While the other Atlantic City casino properties chose to reopen as scheduled and make the best of the circumstances by offering several outdoor dining and takeout alternatives, Borgata decided it needed more time to prepare.
That was what prompted Borgata’s president and CEO, Melonie Johnson, to cancel both the July 2 soft reopening and the much anticipated public reopening on July 6 and issue the following statement:
“Following the governor’s directive to postpone indoor dining, we took a step back to reassess our reopening date to ensure we could give our guests the world-class experience they expect from us, safely.”
On behalf of the casino, Johnson also commented:
“We appreciate our guests’ and employees’ patience and understanding and look forward to welcoming them back.”
Well, the even longer wait than expected is nearly over. First, on Thurs., July 23 through Sat., July 25, there will be a soft reopening for invited guests only. Then, assuming everything goes smoothly, Borgata claims it will finally be ready to reopen its doors to the public on July 26, and when it does, it is confident that guests will respond favorably.
Besides having all of the required safety protocols in place, the resort will provide plenty of options for outdoor and takeout food and beverage service. Registered hotel guests will also be able to have food and beverages delivered to their rooms.
Employee and guest safety will be the top priority
The message on their NJ online casino website probably sums up best what you might expect if you plan to visit Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on July 26 or soon thereafter.
“A little different than before but still your happy place.”
All of Gov. Murphy’s orders designed to ensure a safe playing environment and help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus will be strictly enforced. That includes mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing throughout the property, 25% maximum occupancy on the casino floor, and no eating, drinking, or smoking on the casino floor or in any other public areas inside the building.
More specifically, here is the essence of the Seven-Point Safety Plan that Borgata will put into effect.
- Screening, temperature checks, and extensive employee training on health and safety protocols
Guests and employees who feel sick or might have been recently exposed to the virus are asked to stay home. However, medical and security staff will be on hand to assist guests who develop symptoms during their visit.
2. Mandatory mask-wearing in public areas for everyone and personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees such as guestroom attendants who require them
3. Physical distancing
Six feet physical distancing policies throughout the property
4. Custom-built handwashing stations and enhanced sanitation throughout the property
5. HVAC controls and air quality will meet or exceed published standards.
6. Incident response protocols
If any guest or employee develops COVID-19 symptoms, Borgata will report it to the local health department and assist with contact tracing.
7. Digital menus
Guests who wish to take advantage of the outdoor dining options can view the restaurant’s menu on their mobile phone via QR codes and receive a text message when their table for outdoor seating is ready.
Other aspects of your Borgata resort experience
What to expect on arrival
Depending on the form of transportation you will use and also if you have booked a room, here’s what you need to know so your check-in will be as smooth as possible.
NOIR cardholders can use valet parking. Everyone else will need to park in the self-park garage. The Water Club valet and surface parking lot remain closed.
- Drop-offs and pick-ups
All drop-offs and pick-ups, including taxis and shared rides, will occur outside the Port Cochere entrance. Jitneys will stop at the North Entrance near the Race & Sports Book.
In order to facilitate social distancing, the lobby will be designed with spacious queuing for hotel check-ins and physical barriers at the front desk, and only the principal guest will be permitted to wait in line.
Alternatively, guests with mobile devices can elect to receive a text from hosts in the lobby notifying them when their room is ready in lieu of waiting in line. Or, if they prefer, they can pre-register shortly before arriving by calling 609-317-7272 and then receive a text when their room is ready.
Borgata gaming options
The casino will still be open 24/7, but not all of the games will be open 24/7, and some won’t be open at all.
For starters, the casino floor will have a different look, and in compliance with the governor’s recent executive order, the following important changes have been implemented.
- Handwashing stations and hand sanitizers will be readily available for both players and employees to use frequently.
- All tables, slot machines, kiosks, and ATMs that are in use will be sanitized with increased frequency.
- The number of players at each table game will be limited in accordance with local gaming regulations, and guests who are not actively playing cannot stand beside or behind those who are.
- Where applicable, polycarbonate barriers or similar protective alternatives will be installed.
- Alternating slot machines will be turned off.
Food and beverage service
Until further notice, no indoor dining, drinking, or smoking in public areas will be permitted
However, selected outlets will be open, as indicated below, for reserved outdoor dining and beverage service and/or take-out. Keep in mind, too, that while the indicated hours of operation are accurate as of this writing, they are subject to change, so check beforehand.
Due to heavy demand and limited seating availability, reserve seats ahead of time and have a back-up plan if necessary.
Outdoor dining and beverage service
- Sunbar at The Water Club (on the Water Club outdoor pool deck): 3 p.m.-9 p.m. daily
- Borgata Street Eats Food & Beer Trucks (at the North entrance)
Taco Truck: 12 p.m.-9 p.m. daily
- Borgata Beer Garden
Kitchen: Mon.-Thurs. 12 p.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
Bar: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
- Porte Cochere Bar: 24/7
- Amphora VIP Player’s Lounge (in Borgata Gardens): Fri.-Sun. 4 p.m.-9 p.m.
Old Homestead: 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. daily
- N.O.W.: Mon.-Thurs. 12 p.m.-2 a.m., Fri.-Sat. 12 p.m.-4 a.m.
- Borgata Baking Company: Sun.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Fri-Sat. 7 a.m.-1 a.m.
- Bread & Butter: 24/7
- Starbucks: Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.-12 a.m., Sat. 6 a.m.-12 a.m., Sun. 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Moneyline Bar & Book (Kitchen): Mon.-Thurs. 12 p.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
- Marketplace (check hours)
Room service: 24/7
Only the main Borgata outdoor pool will be open, and access is exclusively for registered Borgata hotel guests age 21 and older. Pool chairs will be spaced apart for social distancing and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
All indoor pools remain closed.
However, the hotel will offer guests of all ages shuttle service to and from the beach on Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. Pick-ups and drop-offs will be at the Porte Cochere entrance.
Just as important as your knowing what services and amenities will be available to you when the resort reopens and for the foreseeable future is knowing what won’t be available. It’s a long list, including all of the following:
- Concierge desk
- North Entrance Surface Parking Lot
- Water Club
- Any restaurants not listed above
- Any bars not listed above
- All lounges, nightclubs, and entertainment venues
- Borgata Indoor Pool
- Water Club indoor and outdoor pools
- All spas and salons
- Fitness center
- Whim retail shop (However, several other retail shops will be open.)
- Borgata Poker Room
It appears Borgata is doing its part and more to ensure that when it reopens to the public on July 26, it will offer enough services and amenities for guests to enjoy themselves without compromising their health and safety. However, the responsibility also rests with each guest to observe the protocols and take them seriously.
When the time is right, the Governor of New Jersey will relax the requirements, and the Borgata and the other eight Atlantic City casino resorts will be able to expand their offerings accordingly. In the meantime, let’s all make the best of the less than great hand we’re dealt and try to have a happy and healthy summer.