Las Vegas Casinos? Gambling? Your odds during COVID-19 reopening

Photo: eTurboNews

What is the risk when visiting Las Vegas? What is the risk when dining in a Las Vegas Restaurant. What is your risk when staying at a Las Vegas Resort? Shopping in a Las Vegas Mall?  Coronavirus pikes will show the earliest in two weeks. Do you want to be the guinea pig?

Travel deals to Las Vegas are the norm now. Playing Russian roulette is a form of gambling – and gambling it’s what Sin City is all about. After all poker rooms are still closed in Las Vegas.

Regional tourism is a popular discussion point for rebuilding.travel experts, and it showed this weekend specifically in downtown Las Vegas with Fremont Street was lighting up for business again with locals and some tourists back. Only a handful of resorts on the famous Las Vegas Strip are open. Some of the mega-resorts may only open about 10% of their capacity but for bargain rates as low as $30 and hardly more than $100 plus resort fees, but free parking. Many of the resort restaurants remain closed, so are poker rooms. Forget buffets for right now.

Coronavirus is not gone in Nevada, and especially not in neighboring California. There are hundreds of new cases and there are deaths every day, but the economy is dying.

David Moreno from Las Vegas knows this and has a response that may be true for many in the world and says economics over health: “It’s not fair for you to knock this without seeing both sides.  David Moreno from Las Vegas said: We as Las Vegas residents rely on tourism. Thousands of casino workers’ families rely on the re-opening of our casinos and tourism. This is a very complicated situation we’re dealing with. So we’re concerned too.”

Nevada entered the second phase of its reopening on May 29. This means that most businesses, such as dine-in restaurants, retail shops, salons, and even bars can again welcome a capped number of guests. Casinos, however, were not included in the first or second phase of the state’s reopening plan and instead were permitted to resume gaming operations on June 4.

Some of the now reopened casinos include Treasure Island (now in the Radisson family), Wynn, Bellagio, MGM Grand, New York-New York, Caesars, Rio, Circus Circus, The D, Golden Nugget, Planet Hollywood, the Venetian and more.

Coronavirus is not gone in Nevada, and especially not in neighboring California. There are hundreds of new cases and there are deaths every day, but the economy is dying.

Even slot machines are open every other one, craps spacing people out, table games like blackjack have a max of three players is more for show than a real response for social distancing. Sanitizing stations are located all over the casinos and hotels. The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued 18 specific rules for reopening. Click here to read.

While the hotel pools will reopen when the resorts do, things will be different. The pool party as we knew it is paused for now and the pools will adhere to social-distancing guidelines with cabanas and loungers spaced out to maintain a safe distance. Additionally, pool areas will undergo a strict cleaning regimen throughout the day. Don’t look for the infamous day club pool parties yet.

MGM laid off many of their staff, why Sands kept everyone on board. The happiness factor should show when selecting where to stay.

Live entertainment venues have not yet reopened in Nevada, except for outside ventures, like the Bellagio fountains.

Las Vegas Mc Carren International Airport is not so busy. Most tourists drive in from California.

MGM has outlined a seven-step plan that requires masks for employees and provides free masks to guests who are encouraged, though not required, to wear them. It also includes increased reliance on digital solutions to reduce touchpoints, such as digital room keys available via an online app, mobile check-in, and menus available by scanning QR codes.

Properties will strongly encourage guests to utilize face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Wynn has installed “noninvasive thermal cameras” at each entry point, and, “Any person displaying a cough, shortness of breath or other known symptoms of COVID-19 or a temperature above 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit will be discreetly offered a secondary screening” by staff donning masks and eye protection.

It cost the Las Vegas casinos millions of dollars per day that the doors were shut. There are reports that the MGM properties alone are going through more than $14 million per day during the shutdown.

Jenn Michaels from MGM Hotels and Resorts wrote this:

This is the third time I’ve written in the last three months and finally, there is a glimmer of hope as I write. We recently reopened our two properties in Mississippi and in Las Vegas, Bellagio, MGM Grand, and New York-New York once again began welcoming guests.  Excalibur will open this coming week, and I won’t be at all surprised to make additional opening announcements rather quickly.

It feels odd walking through the resorts, seeing employees and many guests wearing masks; to see plexiglass between players at the blackjack tables; and signs everywhere reminding you to watch your physical distancing from others. These changes are critically important in offering our guests an environment in which they can feel safer and so far we’re hearing they are very appreciative of the work that’s gone into our reopening.

Other changes we’ve implemented will improve the hospitality experience at our resorts forevermore. Among those are some of the digital innovations that had been contemplated for some time, but were accelerated during this period of closure. Our restaurants now offer menus and wine lists you can view on your personal devices through QR codes. The days of waiting around at a restaurant for your table to be ready are gone — you check in and we’ll text you when it’s ready. In the meantime, go have some fun. And we’re exploring how this technology can be used elsewhere in the resort experience. You can also now check in to your hotel room on our mobile app and your personal device will be your key. We had begun this work last year but expedited it so that as our hotels open, all of them will offer this contactless ability, limiting your touchpoints.

What else do I see as I wander around? People having a great time, enjoying fun dinners, hanging out poolside, exploring the Bellagio Conservatory (a gorgeous Japanese display), watching the fountains dance, and generally having a blast like you’re supposed to in Las Vegas. And even better than that is seeing people back at work and how happy they are to be reunited with their colleagues. It’s not exactly the same as it was, and I get that it probably won’t be for some time, but we have to start on the road to recovery somewhere in order to ultimately arrive there.

I’d love to hear from you about what is happening in your world as the travel industry starts the long journey to a comeback. If there is anything I can be of assistance with here in Las Vegas, reach out at any time. And when you’re ready to come back, we’re here. There’s no doubt that the world needs travel, adventure, exploration, experiences. And all of us, in some way, play a role in that for consumers — whether it’s the destination itself or telling wonderful stories that inspire people to travel. Let’s continue to be there for each other and for the world.

From one lover of the travel industry to another — stay well, stay safe, and stay in touch.

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