In the two weeks since the nine Atlantic City casinos were ordered to close their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, many have given temporary layoff notices to a significant percentage of their staff. According to a recent report from The Press of Atlantic City, the layoffs will add up to about 16,000 casino workers who can receive unemployment benefits since there is no timetable on when the casinos will reopen.
By the end of last week, around 3.3 million people in the United States had filed for unemployment benefits due to mass layoffs as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Around 155,000 of those hail from New Jersey, where the figure is 16 times higher than it was last week. Many experts have predicted that up to 379,000 people in New Jersey could file for unemployment by the beginning of June.
It was also reported that Governor Phil Murphy had ordered every casino in the Garden State to provide employees with two weeks of compensation as well as health benefit extensions. Employees at the Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City had their compensation packages extended to a month, while the two-week deals for the other eight Atlantic City casinos ended on Sunday, March 29.
The US casino industry has been rocked by the shutdown. The recent move from the Atlantic City casino operators means that workers that have been laid off will now be able to qualify for public assistance in these hard times.
Joe Lupo, President for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, told reporters that his business remains “committed to our team members during these unprecedented times” and is trying to “ensure that our communication has been open and direct”.
He added, “Team members furloughed and applying for unemployment will be able to take advantage of the new stimulus package until our property re-opens. We are looking forward to having our team back on property for a busy summer.”