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New Jersey Governor Expands Vaccine Eligibility To Include Casino Workers

Local Union Hopes To Have Entire Workforce Vaccinated By Memorial Day

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New Jersey casino employees started taking COVID-19 vaccinations Monday morning at the Atlantic County Convention Center. The move came after Gov. Phil Murphy expanded eligibility for the shot to hospitality workers.

The Casino Association of New Jersey, AtlantiCare and a local casino workers union are working to get all the employees of the nine Atlantic City casinos vaccinated by Memorial Day, according to a report from the Press of Atlantic City. There are approximately 25,000 people employed by the state’s casinos.

“Getting our local hospitality workers vaccinated is an important part of protecting our community and creating a safe, healthy environment for those who look forward to visiting our region every year,” said Lori Herndon, president and CEO of AtlantiCare.

A server at the Borgata was the first casino worker to receive the vaccination Monday morning. Murphy’s decision to expand vaccination eligibility comes just a few weeks after he announced that the restrictions he imposed on the casino industry would be rolled back.

When he allowed casinos to reopen last July, Murphy only allowed properties to operate at 25% of its maximum capacity and had several dining restrictions. As of March 19, operating capacity was bumped to 50% and indoor dining would once again be permitted.

The relaxing of restrictions coupled with increased vaccinations should spell good news for the Garden State casino industry. Over the last 12 months, Atlantic City casinos have struggled to even come close to pre-pandemic revenue levels. In January, brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City saw a year-over-year fall of 16.6%.