All Photos by Calanit Atia (taken during lockdown)
Along the Las Vegas Strip, about one-third of the 35 or so resorts re-opened on June 4 with extensive safety measures mandated from health experts and the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which regulates the casinos.
The Venetian reopened with most of their restaurants, lounges, and retail outlets opened as well. Owner Sheldon Adelson is to be commended for keeping all Venetian/Palazzo employees paid for the entire duration of the COVID-19 lockdown. Off the Strip, the Station Casinos kept approximately 14,000 employees paid through May 15, before layoffs became an economic necessity.
Caesars Palace and Flamingo, two of Caesars Entertainment’s 11 resorts on or near the Strip, opened on June 4. Slated to open later, Harrah’s and the casino at the Linq resort will reopen once visitor demand makes it viable. Parts of the Linq Promenade, including the High Roller observation wheel, will welcome guests starting June 4.
MGM Resorts reopened four of its 13 Las Vegas properties on June 4: Bellagio, MGM Grand, New York-New York and The Signature at MGM Grand, but changed the opening time from midnight to 10 a.m. due to the last week of civil unrest and protests.
Wynn-Encore is promising a full, pre-pandemic Vegas experience. “Wynn Las Vegas plans to offer guests a complete Las Vegas experience by opening every amenity and outlet available,” a news release says. “Both hotel towers and the casino as well as all restaurants will reopen on June 4, followed by the resort’s newest restaurant, Elio, later in the month.”
The websites of the Cosmopolitan, Sahara, the Strat, Treasure Island and Tropicana, run by smaller gaming organizations, are also accepting reservations beginning the night of June 4.
All resorts that are reopening also will open their pools, but social distancing will be enforced. Other attractions that have planned to open on June 4 include The Fountains of Bellagio and the Conservatory & Botanical Garden with a new spring floral display: “Japan Journey: Magic of Kansai.” A variety of lounges and restaurants will also welcome guests, including The Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio, which launched less than three months before the March 17 shutdown order. At New York-New York, the Big Apple Coaster and Hershey’s Chocolate World.
The safety precautions will include guests’ temperatures being checked at entrances to all resorts. Although face masks will be required for all employees, they are only “encouraged” for visitors. Smokers can light up in public spaces and hand sanitizer will be available. Unfortunately many bars, restaurants and shops are still closed in many of the casino resorts and visitor volume will dictate when they will relaunch.