Slot machines are powered down, casinos boarded up and barricaded. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, instead of hosting throngs of visitors for one of the busiest seasons of the year, Las Vegas is trying to survive. (April 26) AP Domestic
LAS VEGAS – When will tourists get to stroll the Strip in search of new slots, high-end shops and fancy food stops?
Caesars Entertainment, operator of nine properties in this gambling and entertainment mecca, has not unveiled when that will happen because it’s up to state and local officials controlling shutdown orders.
But the company on Thursday granted a peek of what tourists can expect from the resort giant when Las Vegas reopens.
Caesars Palace and Flamingo will open first
Rather than opening all properties at the same time, the chain will first welcome guests to Caesars Palace and the Flamingo Las Vegas.
“Reopening Las Vegas in a phased approach will be a significant milestone for Caesars Entertainment as the country continues to emerge from this necessary closure period,” said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment in a statement.
Both Caesars Palace and the Flamingo will offer hotel rooms, dining options and access to pools – as well as slot machines and table games.
An added perk has also come out of the pandemic: All self-parking at Caesars properties along the Strip will be free.
Harrah’s and LINQ will open next
Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and the gaming floor at LINQ Hotel & Casino would open next.
The timing of those openings will be based on customer demand, the company said.
Several retail and dining outlets along the LINQ Promenade – as well as the High Roller Observation Wheel – are also expected to reopen.
No shows, bars, spas, buffets, valet parking
Those Vegas experiences will remain paused.
When they return, the amenities will come with new social distancing guidelines.
Caesars’ remaining Las Vegas properties and restaurants are expected to reopen based on customer demand.
Employees will wear masks
Beyond frequent cleaning and sanitization, Caesars has launched a health screening program for employees to determine which workers will be required to be tested for COVID-19 before returning the job.
Temperature checks will be required before every shift, and all employees must wear masks provided by the company.
Guests will be provided masks and strongly encouraged to wear them.
Reservations open for June 1
State gambling regulators have not given the go-ahead or a date for the lifting of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s shutdown order, but casino companies have been developing reopening plans – many of them aiming for June 1.
But these Caesars properties are taking reservations starting on May 29: Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Harrah’s, LINQ, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo and Planet Hollywood.
“Our casinos are beginning to reopen around the country,” the company’s website states. “The precise date casinos are permitted to open will vary from state to state and is dictated by government or tribal officials in each jurisdiction.”
Nevada casinos will look different
In the aftermath of COVID-19, the casino experience in Las Vegas and greater Nevada will look a much different.
The Nevada Gaming Commission recently approved the Gaming Control Board’s reopening policies, laying out what more than 400 large and small casinos need to do when shutdown orders are lifted.
Occupancy limits in gaming areas will be cut in half. Tourists will see chairs and stools in front of every other gaming machine. Gathering in groups – one time a staple of the Las Vegas experience – will be prohibited.
Dealers will even offer card players a complimentary pump of sanitizer between hands.
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.
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