ynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said he is confident that Las Vegas will bounce back better than ever. Speaking to Latin Chamber of Commerce President Peter Guzman in an interview released Monday, Maddox said he believes it could be two years before Las Vegas fully recovers from the pandemic.
"Las Vegas itself, because of our heavy reliance on conventions, is going to have a slow comeback," he said, as reported by USA Today Sun. "But, on the flip side, I think we’re smart enough and we’re doing it to attract more leisure customers coming to have fun because I think people are really going to want to get out and have a good time."
Maddox said Las Vegas could see a recovery much like the Roaring Twenties once the pandemic gets under control, referring to the decade of the 1920s, a period of economic prosperity in the United States. “I think people are going to want to dress up and go out and be around people once it's safe,” he said. “I think it's going to be similar to the Roaring Twenties after the pandemic of 1918 and 1919. It was like 'Oh my God. We survived this, let's go have fun.’”
Wynn has partnered with the University Medical Center to create a testing lab which is expected to be finished in about 30 days. “In order to get 5,000 people back into a nightclub or a big show or convention, I'd like to have 'Okay have you been vaccinated? Yes or no. Okay, no? Then, take a test.' All you have to do is spit in this tube and we're going to turn it around. If we get the green light, you're allowed to go in. And we get a red light then we have a process for someone who comes up positive.” Maddox said his testing idea should help make people feel comfortable getting into a crowded space again.
Wynn CEO said Las Vegas needs to lead the country in getting people back together safely. He said the key to getting back on track will be the safe return of mass gatherings, not just the casinos that were allowed to reopen with strict safety measures in June. "We've got to get shows back again. We've got to get conventions back again."
Maddox said he is concerned that there could be another shutdown in Las Vegas as coronavirus rates surge around the US, and that he's prepared to close Wynn's doors again if that happens. "We now have practice at this," he said. "It would be hard, it would be tough on people, but we know how to do it and we're preparing for the worst and hoping that we just kind of get through it."
He said he is hopeful that Las Vegas will finally be able to launch a real comeback by next summer with widespread testing and vaccinations. "People will be ready to be back with other people. I think we'll start feeling that momentum in Februaryish, March, coming out of the winter," he said. "Between now and then, it's a bucking bronco."