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Guidance released on how schools should deal with coronavirus cases

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Two members of the union representing table-games dealers at Foxwoods recently tested positive for COVID-19, the casino acknowledged Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, the first cases reported among. Murphy said the combination of COVID-19 spikes in cases in other states and “the instances of knucklehead behavior” at some New Jersey establishments drove the decision. Casinos have been shuttered since March 16 when Murphy ordered them closed along with gyms and indoor entertainment venues to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Background: The new restrictions are being imposed as cases of coronavirus are surging in New Jersey. The state reported an additional 2,075 coronavirus cases on Monday, for a total of 256,653. New Jersey targets indoor dining, bars, casinos amid rising COVID-19 rates.

The Department of Health has released guidance to school districts on what actions to take — including if and when to close — in the event that a student, teacher, or staff members tests positive for coronavirus.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the guidance was advisory and encouraged districts to make their own decisions based on local knowledge.

“School closure is a local decision that should be made by local administrators in consultation with local public health officials,” she said.

According to the state’s guidance, a school can remain open if it has one positive case, two or more cases in one classroom or “cohort,” or two or more cases with a 14-day window that were caused by an outside exposure. It is recommended that those in close contact with the people who tested positive stay home for 14 days.

If a school has two or more cases within 14 days linked to a school activity and those cases are in different classrooms, the district should follow the recommendations of a local health department investigation.

Districts should consider closing a school for 14 days in the event of a “significant community outbreak” that affects multiple staff members, students, and their families.

Schools are encouraged to close for 14 days if they report two or more cases across multiple classrooms without a clear connection between them.

As of Friday, the state had approved the plans of 607 New Jersey school districts preparing to start the new academic year. Of them 354 are using a hybrid model of in-person and online learning, 172 are planning all-remote learning, 59 are entirely in-person, and 22 districts have a combination of plans among multiple schools.

“It’s a school year unlike any other,” Murphy said. “Don’t expect normalcy — or at least an old normalcy.”

Restaurant’s liquor license suspended for flouting coronavirus rules

New Jersey is looking to revoke the liquor license of a Burlington City restaurant for numerous violations of the state’s coronavirus restrictions on eateries and bars.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Thursday that the state had suspended the liquor license of Il Portico Ristorante and is now seeking to revoke the liquor license outright.

“When a selfish owner or manager flagrantly violates these orders, they not only put in danger the progress we’ve made — they give a black eye to many more business owners who continue to play by the rules,” Gov. Murphy said.

The charges stemmed from a late-night July 3 party of more than 500 people at Il Portico, which allegedly served patrons indoors and did not require customers to wear face coverings, authorities said. Investigators returned to the restaurant in August and reported additional violations.

According to the attorney general’s office, Il Portico is the first establishment facing the possible revocation of its liquor license for coronavirus violations that also received a COVID-19 Expansion Permit, which allows restaurants and bars to temporarily expand their physical premises to accommodate increased outdoor dining.

The restaurant is entitled to a full hearing on the state’s intention to revoke its liquor license.

The casinos of Atlantic City have reopened in a pandemic world in a bid to try to salvage lost business. However, gamblers in Atlantic City are already being confronted with a very different casino experience.

Following a 108-day closure, many of Atlantic City’s casinos reopened their doors at the beginning of July. Avid visitors to the tables in Atlantic City have already noticed some of the changes casinos have made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Casinos Implement Anti-Virus Measures

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy published guidance on what casinos should do in order to reopen safely and prevent a resurgence of the virus.


Compliance within casinos appeared to be nearly universal. An Associated Press reporter said that in more than two hours on the floor of the Hard Rock Casino he didn’t see a single customer not wearing a face mask of some kind. He also reported some customers were wearing full-face hoods extending down to their chests.

Covid Cases Graph

Casinos are currently limited to 25% of their usual operating capacity. At the tables, plexiglass dividers have been implemented in order to separate seats. Furthermore, slot machines are switched off every so often to maintain distance between players.

Thus far, it seems patrons are following both mask and social distancing guidelines.

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New Jersey Residents Respond Positively

Despite videos emerging from major retailers like Walmart and Costco of confrontations between customers and staff over their anti-virus measures, the same scenes have not played out in Atlantic City.

On the contrary, visitors to the casinos of Atlantic City have responded positively to the changes.

Tony Revaman from Atlantic City says he used to visit the casinos twice a week before the March 16th shutdown. He said, “It’s great to be back. Only thing is you can’t smoke. I’m a smoker and I’m trying to find some way around this.”

Patrons of Atlantic City’s casinos were almost universal in their desire to follow the rules as long as they could gamble again.

Mike McLaughlin of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, said, “Accept, adapt, and have fun. I’m a gambler; this is what I do.”

Borgata Finally Removes its Resistance to Reopening

Eight of the nine Atlantic City casinos reopened their doors at the start of July, with three holding out for an extra day to give their high rollers a chance for a one-day head start, and to test out the new coronavirus measures in place.

The city’s largest and most profitable casino, the Borgata, decided against reopening. Indoor dining, drinking bans, and smoking bans within casinos encouraged the Borgata to reverse its reopening plans.

The Borgata has, finally, set a tentative date of July 26th for reopening. It remains unclear as to whether Governor Murphy will ease any of the coronavirus restrictions currently in place. However, the Borgata has been largely forced into a corner and has been forced to reopen in order to protect its position as the local market leader.

Will the Reopening Last for Long?

Anyone who has been reading the latest news regarding coronavirus will know that the number of infections throughout the US has exploded again. A spike in deaths in the coming weeks is widely expected. New Jersey has already experienced a major outbreak in cases.

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This will leave Atlantic City’s nine casinos wondering whether they will be forced to reclose their doors and cause more disruption to their businesses.

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The decision will likely rest on not New Jersey but on Atlantic City itself. If a major outbreak occurs within the city, another lockdown for the state’s casinos is likely.

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For now, though, casinos are doing what they can to ensure that no clusters of coronavirus are traced back to their casinos or the city.