New Jersey is inching a bit closer to normalcy.
During his daily coronavirus press conference in Trenton on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that restaurants, casinos and other indoor businesses can increase their capacities from 35% to 50%, starting on March 19. That date, incidentally, coincides with the start of the first round of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament, the biggest event for college basketball betting.
New Jersey’s nine casinos are located in Atlantic City.
CHECK OUT: Some normalcy in Atlantic City
Murphy had increased capacity from 25% to 35% on Super Bowl weekend in early February and allowed the sportsbooks in Atlantic City to stay open past 10 p.m.
Bars, gyms, personal care services such as hair and nail salons and amusement venues also can be half-filled.
Decline in COVID-19 Hospitalizations
Murphy said the limits are being raised because of a sharp decline in hospitalizations within the past month. The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals has decreased by close to 1,000 since Feb. 5.
Earlier this week, a new survey by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University in Galloway said that more than 70% percent of the respondents plan to visit Atlantic City within the next six months. Among visitors who went when New Jersey casinos reopened in July, 82% said they also planned to visit again within the next six months.
A good sign indeed.