It’s been just over two months since we had a major update on COVID-19 in Las Vegas. All non-essential businesses, including casinos, were ordered to close in mid-March. A casino closing is more than just stopping people from gambling. All restaurants, shows, spas, conventions, and every venue inside of casinos were also closed. The Vegas Strip has been a ghost town while the locals went about their days in the communities.
Since that time it appears as though Las Vegas locals have done a pretty good job of slowing the spread of coronavirus. A couple of weeks ago, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak started re-opening of the state for residents. Phase 1 of the Roadmap To Recovery from Nevada allowed more local businesses to open in part.
As COVID-19 cases slowed in Nevada Governor Sisolak released a statement to introduce Phase 2 of Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery. The second phase of reopening Las Vegas begins on Friday.
The big news is that casinos are expected to begin reopening on June 4.
First Las Vegas Casinos To Reopen
Las Vegas casinos are expected to be able to reopen on June 4. Even before the casinos had the green light to open, they already had plans. Much like all businesses in Nevada, the large casino companies will be reopening in phases.
Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Station Casinos, and Boyd Gaming will only open some casinos at first:
Open: Caesars Palace, Flamingo
Closed: Planet Hollywood, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, The Cromwell, The Linq, Harrah’s, Rio
On deck: The Linq, Harrah’s
Open: Bellagio, New York-New York
Closed: Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Park MGM, Aria, MGM Grand, The Mirage
On deck: MGM Grand
Open: Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Santa Fe Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station
Closed: Palms, Texas Station, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho
Open: The Orleans, Gold Coast, Aliante, Sam’s Town, Suncoast, Cannery, Eastside Cannery
Closed: The California, Fremont, Main Street Station
Individually operated casinos will open as allowed by the government beginning June 4. Most other Las Vegas casinos appear to be ready to open as soon as they’re allowed.
Las Vegas Casino Health And Safety Plans
Every Las Vegas casino operator has a health and safety plan. The plans are all similar since they adhere to a policy from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Here are the different reopening health and safety plans:
- Caesars Entertainment
- MGM Resorts
- Venetian Clean (and Palazzo)
- Wynn Las Vegas (and Encore)
- Station Casinos
- Boyd Clean
- Sahara Cares
- Golden Entertainment (The Strat)
- Treasure Island
Las Vegas casinos are not required to release these plans and obviously not every operator has chosen to do so.
Las Vegas Casino Floor Social Distancing
When Las Vegas casinos reopen they won’t have the same energy guests might be used to. The properties will be working with a maximum of 50% capacity. The casino floor will be spaced out.
Every other video poker and slot machine will either be turned off or have a chair removed so players have space. Video machines like video blackjack, fortune cup, and stadium gaming installations will have similar spacing.
Table games will also be different. The games will have limited seating as well:
- Blackjack: 3 players
- Roulette and poker: 4 players
- Craps: 6 players
Carny games (3 Card Poker, Let It Ride, etc.) should also only have three players since the tables are the same size as blackjack tables.
These are reopening protocols for casinos. Things should change in the future if the threat of coronavirus decreases and more people visit Las Vegas casinos.
In time the gaming floor, restaurants, bars, etc. should become what so many have come to enjoy in Sin City. It will take time but there’s a brighter and more vibrant Las Vegas in the future. It’s just going to take some patience as casinos and other businesses reopen.
Free Parking Returning To The Vegas Strip
When casinos on the Vegas Strip reopen they won’t be charging for parking. MGM Resorts led the way announcing the company will reopen its properties without paid parking for all guests. The Cosmopolitan and Caesars Entertainment followed with similar announcements.
There aren’t any other Vegas Strip casinos still charging to park. You may remember that Wynn dropped its parking fees last year.
Now for the bad news (kinda) for those looking to park at casinos on the Vegas Strip. Guests will have to park their own cars. It appears as if valet parking at these properties won’t be available when the casinos reopen.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.