evada casinos reopened at 12:01 a.m. after 78 days of state-mandated closures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
However, not all properties are open today as casino companies gradually bring back their brands. MGM Resorts International is only opening Bellagio, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Signature this week. Excalibur will follow June 11. Caesars Entertainment is bringing back Caesars Palace, Flamingo, and due to a surge in reservations, Harrah’s was added to the list. The Fountains of Bellagio will be turned on at 9:15 a.m. Large, circular stickers on the sidewalk in front of the manmade lake remind people to stay six feet apart.
Neighborhood casinos and those in downtown were the first to welcome visitors with most opening at 12:01 a.m. The Strip properties, such as Wynn Resorts, the Venetian and Palazzo are slated to open Thursday morning, along with the landmark STRAT casino and tower, Derek Stevens’ downtown properties and others around Las Vegas owned by Boyd Gaming and Red Rock Resorts. Along the Strip, most resort operators will unlock their doors about 10 a.m.
Wynn Las Vegas will open at 10 a.m., as Wynn Resorts pushed back its planned opening to daylight hours in a nod to ongoing nighttime protests over George Floyd's death in Minnesota. Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck. The disturbances led to two shootings late Monday night and early Tuesday on the well-known Las Vegas Boulevard.
Each property’s reopening plan had to be approved by the Gaming Control Board. The plans included enhanced safety standards, such as limiting the number of players at table games, sanitation stations at every turn, thermal scans for employees and guests before entering the property, disinfected dice, face masks everywhere, and touchless cellphone check-ins, among others. Newly mandated safety rules will be enforced by agents from the Gaming Control Board.
“I’m optimistic that customers will see that gaming properties invested time and effort to welcome them back to a safe and entertaining environment,” state Gaming Control Board chief Sandra Douglass Morgan said Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.
Morgan didn’t specify if any plans were rejected, saying agents “communicated concerns or asked for clarification” from an unspecified number of the state’s 459 licensed casinos. The board also regulates nearly 2,000 bars, restaurants and convenience stores that have no more than 15 slot machines.
The first visitors are expected to be area residents, then motorists from nearby U.S. states and then air travelers.
Fifteen hotel-casinos, less than half of the 35 or so resorts along the Strip, expect to open by the weekend, Los Angeles Times reports. They include, from north to south: the Strat, Sahara, Circus Circus, Wynn-Encore, Treasure Island, the Venetian, Harrah’s, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, the Cosmopolitan, MGM Grand, the Signature at MGM Grand, New York-New York and Tropicana.
Only Wynn-Encore promises that both hotel towers and all restaurants, barring its buffet, will relaunch Thursday. Its competitors will start more modestly, adding venues as demand increases. Caesars, for example, will begin with five eateries, including the popular Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen and Vanderpump Cocktail Garden.
Although the resorts won’t require guests to wear a face mask, they are strongly encouraged to do so. Employees are required to wear masks. Workers will be frequently disinfecting surfaces: craps tables and slot machines, elevator buttons and menus. Station Casinos properties are using slot machine icons with customer advisories to “Touch buttons. Not faces, and “Stay Reel Healthy.”
John Flynn, MGM’s corporate vice president overseeing new health and safety practices, said there’s Plexiglas barriers set up at the front desk and all throughout the casino, including the host stands and points of sale. Guests also will find dispensers stocked with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. Touchless hand washing stations are placed throughout casinos at Bellagio, MGM Grand and New York-New York.
“[The] Gaming Control Board is going to be very aggressive in terms of being on the properties, visiting the properties and making sure that the guests, the visitors, are complying with the regulations and that the companies are doing their part as well,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said last week.
Nearly all concerts and other performances are canceled or postponed. Comedian and TV host Trevor Noah’s July gigs at Wynn have been pushed back one year. Headliners have yet to announce when they will return.