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New Jersey Governor Makes An About-Face On Smoking Ban

After Backlash From State Lawmakers, Gov. Phil Murphy Will Continue To Prohibit Smoking In Atlantic City Casinos


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will continue the ban on smoking inside Atlantic City casinos after all.

When Murphy banned indoor dining just before casinos were set to reopen, it also put a stop to smoking and drinking alcohol inside casinos as well. Earlier this week, when he announced that he was signing an executive order that would resume indoor dining at casinos, it would also allow smoking and drinking indoors.

Initially, the Democrat governor was unwilling to continue the ban, but that stance was unpopular with state lawmakers. State Sen. Joseph Vitale issued a press release yesterday that criticized Murphy’s unwillingness to continue to keep New Jersey casinos smoke free.

“The science and facts are clear, COVID-19 overwhelmingly spreads when we breath. Second hand smoke and vapor from electronic cigarettes are enough, but there is absolutely no reason to believe smoking would not also spread the coronavirus because there is simply no way to smoke and wear a face covering,” said Vitale in the statement.

Vitale went on to say that the governor is “well within his power to prohibit nearly anything in this state if it would prevent the spread of the virus” and called on the governor to continue the ban.

A day later, the governor’s attitude took a more authoritarian shift on the issue and he announced earlier today at a press conference that his administration would keep the smoking ban in place for the time being, citing concerns about spreading the virus.

Friday was the first day that indoor dining was allowed in casinos.