Borgata Last Atlantic City Casino to Reopen

After postponing its reopening due to a state ban on indoor dining, Atlantic City’s Borgata came back on July 6 with an outdoor beer garden (l.), food trucks and takeout options.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has long been at the top in gaming revenue in Atlantic City, but it was last to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown. Other properties in the city came back to life in time for the July 4th weekend, but Borgata pushed its reopening to July 6 after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy postponed resumption of indoor dining.

The delay gave the property a chance to add outlets such as the Borgata Beer Garden, next to an outdoor pool, Borgata Street Eats, with its taco truck and tent seating, and the SunBar at the Water Club. The property also converted its indoor pool into a player’s lounge with outdoor seating. In-room dining as well as take-out from some of the existing outlets round out the food and beverage options.

“We took the time to reassess and strategize, and what we’ve come up with—I have to give kudos to the food and beverage department—what we have right now to offer our guests is amazing,” President and Chief Operating Officer Melonie Johnson, who assumed her new role in the middle of the pandemic, told the Press of Atlantic City.

As with the other casinos in town, Borgata is operating at 25 percent capacity with strict protocols for guests and staff. The hotel has limited room availability with only an outdoor pool.

Despite the four-month closure resulting from Covid-19, Borgata will recover, said Johnson, who joined MGM in 2015 in Tunica, Mississippi before leading National Harbor in Maryland. When she arrived at Borgata, she had never met her employees in person, but Johnson knew workers were worried about their futures.

“It’s like, how are we going to open this business,” Johnson told CNBC. “We can’t just be dollar-focused … All businesses are in business to make a profit, but right now we’ve got to put humanity first.”