In cities across the US, individuals are affected by the coronavirus crisis due to business closures. Non-essential businesses have been shut down for weeks now, in the hopes of slowing the spread of this deadly virus. In the casino industry, hundreds of commercial and tribal gaming venues, card rooms and other facilities have been forced to shut their doors. Some employees are laid off while others are thankfully still being paid by their employer, even receiving benefits. The Hard Rock Casino of Atlantic City recently provided goodie bags to their employees including providing grocery store gift cards to assist during this time.
Helping their Own
Yesterday morning, the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City set up a special time frame in which employees could drive through the valet area to receive a goody bag. Hundreds of individuals who work with the venue, as dealers, servers and other positions were on hand to receive a little help.
The gift bag included a surgical mask, grocery store gift card and a pair of drumsticks. Employees were excited about the event, with some standing near the roadway with signs encouraging everyone to ‘Stay Safe’.
Through today, the Hard Rock plans to provide 3,000 ShopRite gift cards, each with a value of $100 to employees as a form of assistance during the pandemic. The individuals who qualify for the goodie bags include those who are on salary, receive hourly wages or are on-call. The individuals had to make $50,000 or less a year to receive the goodie bag.
Hard Rock’s Journey
The Hard Rock along with the other 8 casinos in Atlantic City were shut down on March 16th. Governor Phil Murphy issued the closure of non-essential businesses at this time. The order was issued to try and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. By the end of March, most employees of the casino resorts were laid off temporarily.
For the Hard Rock, eligible employees were able to use any accumulated paid time off plus two weeks of borrowed PTO, which allowed certain employees to be covered through the majority of April without having to file unemployment. Right now, the casino has about 3,400 employees that are not working. About one fourth of that number live in Atlantic City.
President Joe Lupo stated that he is proud of the Hard Rock brand and how ownership took this as a priority and care about their employees.
During the recent event, cars started lining up in the early morning hours. Employees were given the gift bags through car windows, which helped create a safe environment. The bags were certainly welcome by employees who have little to no money at this time, and still trying to care for themselves and their families.
Employees who were in attendance pointed out that the unemployment received plus stimulus checks have been helpful. For some in attendance, it was nice to see their fellow co-workers and be able to say hello. The gift card was a nice touch that mean a lot to employees as it provided a form of payment for much-needed groceries.
It is still unclear as to when the Hard Rock and other Atlantic City casinos will be back to work. For now, this event was a nice way for the employer to help their workers during a time that is unprecedented and certainly something that was unexpected.