Nevada Regulators Approve Wynn Resorts for Full Capacity Due to Employee Vaccination Levels
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Nevada Regulators Approve Wynn Resorts for Full Capacity Due to Employee Vaccination Levels

Nevada Regulators Approve Wynn Resorts for Full Capacity Due to Employee Vaccination Levels

Casinos all across the country have been waiting for approval to resume operations to pre-pandemic levels for months ever since casinos and other non-essential businesses were shut down in March 2020. Finally, it appears that Nevada’s long road to recovery has finally arrived after Wynn Resorts was allowed to resume operations at full capacity. Wynn alongside its other property Encore was allowed to resume at 100% capacity by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Before it received approval from the board, Wynn and Encore had to first prove that they had vaccinated 88% of its employees, which is quite impressive at a time when there have been myths and skepticism surrounding the available vaccines in the market. With this go-ahead from the Gaming Commission, Wynn and Encore have officially removed the separators that have become a common feature on the casino floor.


How was Wynn Resorts able to vaccinate its employees so quickly?

To hasten the vaccination process that ultimately got Wynn the approval to operate at full capacity again, the casino operator had to get creative to ramp up the efforts. First, Encore established a vaccination site on the property in partnership with UMC. Just 3 months after the vaccination site had been established, Wynn had managed to vaccinate nearly all of its staff members.

To encourage its staff members to show up in their numbers, Wynn relied on a range of tactics and strategies to get their staff vaccinated. The brand shared as many videos as it could, showcasing the benefits of the vaccine to educate its staff in addition to making the vaccine accessible on-site. 

The company also established a standard stating that any employee that refuses to get the vaccine must take a weekly test to determine if they have the virus and the employee in question must cater to the expense of the weekly test, which as you can imagine, helped to drum up the number of employees signing up to get vaccinated.


Great news for Nevada as even more casino receive approval from the board

Even though Wynn and Encore were the first in line to get approved for 100% capacity operation, it certainly hasn’t been the last brand to do so. Many properties have looked to Wynn’s playbook and have intensified their vaccination efforts in a bid to start the recovery process.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which became the 3rd casino to resume operations at 100%, resumed operations after attaining an 80% vaccination rate. Like Wynn and Encore, the Cosmopolitan was also forced to get creative in a bid to convince its workforce to get vaccinated. To get things moving, Cosmopolitan pledged to pay vaccinated employees upwards of $1 million in bonuses.

Another casino, MGM Resorts, received approval to return its 9 properties on the Strip to full operational capacity without having to maintain the social distancing regulations. The approval granted only applies to MGM Resorts’ gaming floor while the remaining components of the casinos are still to remain at 80% occupancy. While a 6 feet social distance doesn’t need to be maintained, casinos are still required to maintain a three-feet distance in the pool area.

The MGM Resorts expected to resume operations include:

  • Luxor Hotel and Casino
  • MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
  • Excalibur Hotel & Casino
  • Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
  • ARIA Resort & Casino
  • New York-New York Hotel & Casino
  • Park MGM
  • Bellagio Resort & Casino
  • The Mirage Hotel & Casino

This is yet another major decision and milestone in Vegas’ recovery and a testament to just how important the vaccination process is to returning pre-pandemic operation levels. 

Another casino that received approval to operate at 100% capacity is the Station Casinos, which joined the ranks of other casinos in the Strip allowed to reopen their casino floors at 100%. The Station Casinos that currently have the approval to operate at 100% include Santa Fe Station, Green Valley Ranch, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, and Palace Station.

Station Casino managed to open vaccination clinics at these properties back in April and is still continuing with its vaccination efforts internally throughout May and into the summer. Like MGM Resorts, Station Casinos will only be allowed to operate its casino floor at 100% capacity while the remaining resort components will still operate at the approved 80% capacity.

The Strat, situated in the Gateway District also received permission to resume operations at 100% capacity. Strat’s received the approval after its parent company Golden Entertainment proved that it had vaccinated 80% of its staff members. Moving forward the individual resort properties will be allowed to waive the county’s occupancy rates by applying to receive approval directly from the state’s Gaming Board.

Caesars, on the other hand, received approval to open its 9 Vegas casinos at 100% capacity. This means Caesars’ properties including the LINQ, Rio, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas, the Cromwell, Paris, Planet Hollywood, and Caesars Palace are now operating at 100% capacity.

Boyd Gaming’s casino floors at its Gold Coast, Cannery, Orleans, Sam’s Town, Jokers Wild, Fremont, and California properties are also operating at pre-pandemic levels. Boyd incentivized their employees to get the jab by offering hourly staff paid vacation time if they got the vaccine. Lastly, Silverton also received permission to expand its gaming floors. 

To return to normalcy, Silverton supplied employees and their families with on-site vaccination clinics at no cost. Clark County will waive the 80% capacity limit when it ascertains that at least 1.8 million Clark County residents have been vaccinated. The good news is that most Vegas casinos will soon operate at full occupancy without any person-to-person social distancing as has been the norm for the last year and a half.


Final Thoughts

Happy days are ahead and it is evident with the sweeping changes in capacity limits across the Strip and state. As more people get jabbed, Vegas should be back to its old booming self and it couldn’t be more welcome after the challenging times that the city has endured.

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