Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to come up with a plan to safely reopen Atlantic City casinos by the July 4th weekend.
Murphy closed casinos on March 16 to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
“The Atlantic City metro area saw a stunning 32% decline in employment, and we run the real risk of having one or more casinos stay shuttered if the casinos can’t capitalize on Fourth of July weekend, which would result in thousands of middle-class and working-class residents losing their jobs,” Suleiman said. “The casinos weren’t ready for a Memorial Day weekend opening, but if we start now and if strict social distancing and cleanliness standards are established, then a July 4th opening is a realistic goal.”
The Democratic county chairman has Murphy to include service industry labor unions like UNITE-HERE Local 54 to be involve in formulating a casino reopening plan, as well as several key building trades unions.
“Of paramount importance to me is the safety of casino employees,” said Suleiman. “The Division of Gaming Enforcement should be in charge of enforcing these measures and be empowered to levy fines against casinos that fail to adhere to strict social distancing and cleanliness measures.”
The July 4 weekend precedes the July 7 Democratic primary, which in Atlantic County features a fiercely contests race for Congress. Amy Kennedy, the organization candidate, faces Brigid Callahan Harrison, Will Cunningham, John Francis III and Robert Turkavage for the chance to take on freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis).
Van Drew, who switched from Democratic to Republican last December, has a GOP primary opponent: former Trump administration official Robert Patterson.