By Maura Marshall

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will not reopen when gaming is allowed to resume Thursday as a result of Gov. Phil Murphy’s surprise announcement yesterday that indoor dining would be indefinitely suspended.

Casinos were also informed that beverage service of any kind, including alcohol, would not be permitted on gaming floors or at indoor bars.

“Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property, and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage,” a statement from Borgata’s parent company, MGM Resorts International, said.

Borgata had initially planned to welcome back invited guests July 2 for a “friends and family” soft opening before the general public would be permitted back July 6.

The decision by the Atlantic City market-leader came yesterday after Murphy reversed course on indoor dining and also informed casinos that beverage service would not be permitted.

“All of the casino operators are in the same boat and are still waiting for official guidelines in regards to reopening,” Golden Nugget Atlantic City General Manager Tom Pohlman wrote to loyalty program card members. “This is a very fluid situation and we continue to adapt as we receive new information.”

Murphy nixed plans to resume indoor dining at a limited capacity over a lack of public adherence to social distancing and face mask policies.

“Compliance is not a polite suggestion. It is a requirement,” Murphy said during a news conference.

The governor cited the spike in other states as well as reports in New Jersey of people not correctly wearing, or failing to wear, face masks as well as maintain distance.

“Unfortunately the national scene compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home are requiring us to hit pause on the restart of indoor dining for the foreseeable future,” he said. Asked about a time frame, he replied, “I don’t think it’s a matter of days, but a matter of weeks. We have enormous sympathy but the alternative here is worse and unacceptable.”

Casinos are permitted to reopen Thursday at 25% capacity.

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