Beginning Friday morning, indoor capacities will increase from 25% to 35%. The state is also taking away a 10:00 PM nightly curfew for indoor dining, though it’s not clear if a curfew will still be in effect for casinos.
The Press of Atlantic City reports that the order comes after Murphy faced pressure from the Atlantic County Board of Commissioners to loosen capacity restrictions ahead of the Super Bowl.
Indoor businesses have been operating under strict capacity restrictions and limited hours in response to rising Covid-19 numbers in the state. Cases have gradually decreased over the last few weeks.
“We are able to take steps forward today because of the millions of you who have taken responsibility for ending this pandemic to heart – through constant social distancing, wearing your face masks and exercising common sense,” Murphy said.
Expanded capacity and hours for restaurants and should be a big boost for Atlantic City casinos. After the state imposed a dining curfew late last fall, Atlantic City retail revenue fell to $147m in November, down from $191m in September.
The drop off in retail revenue has correlated with record growth in New Jersey online gaming. Of the $996m wagered on sports in December, $929 was placed online.