As life continues in the wake of the coronavirus, more and more cities are easing their lockdown rules. This week, the adult Disneyland of the world, Las Vegas will begin reopening many of its casinos. If you’re returning to Sin City anytime soon, expect it to look and feel very different…
Reopening in Las Vegas
To prepare everyone for the reopening, the Las Vegas Convention and Tourism Bureau (LVCTB) released an informational ad, covering the coming changes. It didn’t show crowded streets or full casino tables. Instead, it focuses on one couple enjoying a nice of peaceful fun. “Things will be a little different. A new Vegas for a new reality,” a narrator says. Continuing, the ad says, starting June 4th, casinos will reopen with mask and social distancing rules in place. Still, LVCTB vice president of marketing Fletch Brunelle says that it’ll be just as fun. “We will still be about adult freedom. But we want guests to get their experience and stay safe at the same time.”
Of course, many doubt if a place known as Sin City can truly enforce social distancing rules. Every day, streets, bars, clubs, and hotels in Vegas bring in thousands of visitors. Before COVID-19 hit, Caesars Palace, one of the largest casinos on the Strip, had 50,000 guests, gamblers, and workers on its property at any one given time! Still, Brunelle assures everyone they have a sold, safe reopening plan…
New Realities in Sin City
So, what is Las Vegas’ plan? Well, casinos are changing their operating procedures, from the ground up. To even enter hotels like The Cromwell, The Bellagio, and Caesars Palace, and most others, guests will need to pass a temperature check. How this will work in the hot summer months remains to be seen. Meanwhile, inside, all hotel works will wear gloves, masks, and keep a safe distance. Some hotels, like the Venetian, will provide safety kits, including gloves, masks, and disinfectant wipes, to each guest at check-in.
Of course, all casinos are stepping up their sanitizing game, frequently cleaning all surfaces. However, some resorts are entirely changing their interiors. The Cosmopolitan, for example, transformed their breakfast buffet into manned stations, instead of serve-your-self. Meanwhile, in the churches of Sin City – the casinos themselves – half of all tables are gone, and half of the slot machines are turned off. Even at the tables remaining, an empty chair will sit between each player. Some are also installing plastic barriers, like the ones seen above. Finally, chips will be germ-free thanks to a new sanitizing technology called Elite Chip Care.
Huge Losses from Coronavirus
In recent decades, Las Vegas has become home to sports teams, world-class night clubs and concert venues, as well as many shows, like Cirque du Soleil. For now, visitors can simply forget about those, as the coronavirus risk is too substantial. Meanwhile, while walking the Strip is fine, security and police will break up large crowds. “We don’t know when it will be possible to host large scale events again,” a spokesperson from Caesars commented.
As you might imagine, locals are feeling both excited and nervous about reopening. After all, just over 40% of jobs in southern Nevada are based on the entertainment and tourism industry in Vegas. Tourism businesses brought $27 billion in 2019, and while half of this year remains, things do not look good. There’s no immediate plan to make up for losses now, but Brunelle states they want to focus on visitors. “(For now) it’s about guests enjoying experiences they have not been able to have at home,” she said.