After being shuttered since March, the glittering desert gambling oasis of Las Vegas is once again open for business. While some clubs and attractions will remain shuttered for the time being, the casinos and resort hotels have been given the green light to open their doors to the public by the state’s Gaming Control Board, which issued a set of guidelines designed to ensure a safe and sensible experience for visitors.
“We are very pleased by the enthusiasm we are seeing from guests ready to come back to Las Vegas,” said Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts’ Acting CEO and President in a statement to the press. “As business demand increases, we are able to open additional properties and bring more of our employees back to work. Getting people back to work coupled with providing a safer environment for our employees and our guests are our top priorities.”
MGM properties Bellagio, MGM Grand, and New York New York have already opened their doors. Another MGM property, Excalibur will open on June 11 and taking reservations now. Caesar’s Palace is also open for business, as is the outdoor shopping and entertainment Fremont Street Experience. All are observing strict rules that include regular sanitization of surfaces and personal protective equiptment requirements for employees.
In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Gaming Control Board, MGM Resorts announced it has developed a seven-point plan to ensure a safe experience for their guests. Other properties have developed similar plans but all adhere the Gaming Control Board guidelines. Many of the changes will not be visible to the public, such as employee testing and sanitation efforts. Most noticeable to all visitors will be the social distancing requirements while gaming.
Every other gaming machine will be turned off and the seat removed to ensure that those playing slot machines can maintain social distancing. Other gambling areas will have plexiglass screens to safely divide visitors. Going forward, only three players will be permitted to play blackjack at a time, six at craps, and four at roulette and poker.
Guests at the many Las Vegas resort hotels will have their temperatures taken prior to check-in. A variety of other efforts are being deployed at various venues. Most will utilize noncontact handheld devices to take temperatures, while others will employ the kind of thermal imaging equipment seen at airports. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees will not be permitted to enter the premises. Additionally, resorts are required to maintain a separate site on their property for isolation and testing visitors who exhibit symptoms.
Some may worry the new Vegas experience will overly sanitize this city of sin, but we’d like at least a few of the new guidelines to stick around for a while.
Gone is waiting in line for a table at your favorite casino steakhouse or sushi bar. Ditto for having to carry around that bulky device that looks like an oversized electronic drink coaster that goes off like an embarrassing remote-controlled pocket vibrator. Now all you do is check in with the host, and the restaurant will send a text when your table is ready. And you’ll no longer have to worry about losing your room key because some hotels will now allow you to use your smart phone to unlock your room as well as gain access to facilities like the pool and fitness center. Eliminating room keys reduces the surfaces that hotels have to clean and that travelers have to worry about touching.
Some of the new requirements may seem onerous to some, but they don’t appear to be putting a damper on how the news is being received by the casinos and resorts Vegas is open for business again, and they’re clearly gambling on visitors returning to Sin City.
You can read the full list of the Nevada Gaming Control Board guidelines here.