By Peter Gleason

The Democratic chairman of Jersey’s Atlantic County noted a 32% decline in employment, and the risk of casinos staying shuttered if they can’t capitalize on Fourth of July weekend, and he wants Gov. Murphy to safely reopen Atlantic City casinos by the July 4 weekend.

“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,” Michael Suleiman said, as reported by New Jersey Globe. “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.”

He also wants Murphy to include service industry labor unions like UNITE-HERE Local 54 to be involved 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).

Gov. Murphy closed casinos on March 16 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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