What to Expect when Vegas Casinos Finally Open
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What to Expect when Vegas Casinos Finally Open

What to Expect when Vegas Casinos Finally Open

Though lockdown restrictions around the world are now starting to ease, it’s going to be a long time before everything gets fully back to normal.

But what does that mean for casinos? Nevada’s Gov. Sisolak is yet to announce a date for the Strip to reopen, but resorts are expectedly ahead of the game and planning for the big day after enduring more than eight weeks of a temporary shutdown beginning on April 4.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has also begun issuing guidelines to prevent further spread of the virus as the world attempts to return to a semblance of normality.

In a statement, chairwoman of the Gaming Board Sandra Douglass Morgan recognized the unfamiliarity of the situation at hand. She said, “This is new for all of us and not only the gaming control board, but I know that the state and local governments are in this together to ensure that we can open up safely.”

Morgan said all casinos were required to submit reopening plans, specifying how they intend to protect both customers and staff, enforce social distancing, and keep equipment clean. Casinos will need to “create and implement” plans at least seven days before opening and include detailed measures such as how seats, escalator rails, and hotel TV remotes will be cleaned. 

The chairwoman added, "With regards to the CDC requirements, whether that be for masks, gloves, PPE or anything else we have said if it's recommended or required by federal, state or local health authorities then they need to find a way to ensure that their employees are given appropriate PPE.”

In most cases, the board has recommended operators follow local and national governing guidelines on the pandemic. 

Casinos will open at 50% capacity to encourage social distancing as well as cater to new table game rules. Three players will be allowed to sit at a blackjack table, six for craps, four for roulette, and four for poker, according to News 3 Las Vegas. 

The board has also recommended frequent hand washing, cleaning, and specialized Covid-19 training for all staff. Signs will be posted throughout venues to remind customers and staff of proper hygiene and social distancing practices, and every other slot machine will be switched off.

While the NGCB has worked to establish basic guidelines, it has been made clear casinos can develop their own requirements to protect their staff and customers as much as possible. The Venetian, Palazzo, and Wynn Las Vegas are among those to have already done so - eager to get back to business after a huge profit drop in the gambling capital of the world.

It comes as no surprise, however, that night clubs will remain closed, and convention meetings will be limited. Casino eateries will need to rearrange seating to meet social distancing guidelines.

Sportsbooks, bingo halls, and keno lounges will all be set up with social distancing in mind.

The most important guideline from the NGCB comes tucked away in the middle of its issued document- if a licensee is informed of a case of COVID-19 at its property, it must inform the local health authority. All employees will be told how to respond to presumed coronavirus cases.

For now, the state’s stay-at-home order is set to remain in place until May 15, meaning patrons will have to stick to online casinos. 

Nevada is currently in phase zero of its reopening, with Las Vegas casinos expected to begin their trade again in stage three or four. As of May 8, the US has recorded 1.26 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 76,000 deaths. Nevada itself has confirmed over 5800 cases, with Clark County--where Vegas is located--accounting for the vast majority, 4573 cases with 245 deaths.  

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