Friday, May 1, 2020 / by Ken Couture
There is no firm date to reopen the city of Las Vegas. In fact, Mayor Carolyn Goodman was widely criticized last week in an interview with CNN that left host Anderson Cooper burying his face in his hands when she said the city could serve as a coronavirus “control group” – guinea pigs, of sorts – for the rest of the nation by opening again for business.
But, when you’re a hotel-casino losing $3 million a day – as Wynn Las Vegas CEO Matthew Maddox recently wrote – and you’re located in the biggest gaming capital in the world, you’re willing to make a bet.
Wynn is taking the first gamble on reopening Sin City for business, as it has begun taking reservations for Memorial Day weekend, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.
“We are accepting reservation beginning Memorial Day weekend because it has consistently been a popular time for Southern California tourists to visit Las Vegas,” Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver told the Review-Journal on Sunday. “We can have all of our protective guest and employee measures in place by that time.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has a lockdown order in place until April 30 and will decide shortly whether to lift it to reopen the state for business or extend it. Many state governors have taken the same wait-and-see approach, such as in New York where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has put forth shelter-in-place restrictions two weeks at a time.
But at least some hotels have begun to make the preparations necessary to reopen. Caesars Entertainment Corp., Boyd Gaming Corp. and Station Casinos were accepting reservations for their Las Vegas hotels starting May 15, according to the newspaper, although Caesars spokesman Richard Broome told the Review-Journal that booking dates on a website do not necessarily mean properties will reopen on that date.
Hotels owned by Caesars, Boyd and Station Casinos make for a huge chunk of Las Vegas real estate, including Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, Rio, Paris, Bally, Planet Hollywood, Flamingo, Aliante, the Orleans, Gold Coast, SunCoast, Sam’s Town, Fremont, Palms and Red Rock, among others.
MGM Resorts International has no open booking dates at its hotels until June 1, and the Sands Corp. is currently not accepting reservations for its two Las Vegas Strip properties, The Venetian and Palazzo.
However, The Venetian quietly announced its reopening protocols on Tuesday. They include providing a face mask to guests, practicing social distancing on casino floors, UV lights and conducting thermal screening at hotel-casino entrances among more than 800 cleaning, screening and sanitizing initiatives the company imposed on itself.
Emergency Medical Technicians will be available on site 24 hours a day; the hotel will promote social distancing on casino floors, pools and restaurants, and gondola rides will be limited to four riders at a time.
Wynn released a similar 23-page plan that details protocols for reopening.
“Our economy is in a free fall,” Maddox wrote in introducing the plan. “Nevada will likely be one of the hardest hit states in the nation and suffer very high unemployment. It is imperative to flatten this curve so we can re-emerge in a safe, sustainable way.”
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