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Borgata reopening July 6; invited guests can come July 2

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - In this March 21, 2019 file photo, gamblers line up to place bets on the NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City N.J. After being closed since March due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Borgata will reopen to the general public on July 6, 2020, four days after much of its competition. Instead, the casino will be doing a test run for an invitation-only audience during those four days. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Atlantic City's top casino won't be opening its doors to the general public until July 6, four days after most of its competition.

The Borgata tells The Associated Press it will host an invitation-only trial period starting July 2 — the first day Atlantic City casinos can reopen.

But the general public will have to wait until 10 a.m. on July 6 to get in.

The Borgata is taking advantage of a “friends and family” period authorized by the state and announced Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy. The Democratic governor set July 2 as the first date that Atlantic City's nine casinos can reopen, but also gave them the option to do what is known in the industry as a “soft opening” by having invitation-only days, during which the casino can assess its new procedures and how well they are working in the new environment.

Murphy plans to release detailed health and safety regulations for the casinos this week, but he has already said that anyone who enters a casino — visitors and employees alike — will be required to wear a mask.

"When we reopen our doors, we do so with excitement to welcome back our employees and guests, and with an unwavering commitment to their health and safety,” said Melonie Johnson, the Borgata's new president.

The casino said not all its amenities will be open right away. It plans to phase some of them in over the coming weeks as it becomes evident how business levels and customer compliance with health and safety regulations are unfolding.

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