Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas Will Relaunch When Casinos Do

Bellagio Fountains in Las VegasThe Fountains of Bellagio have been one of the most iconic and romantic scenes on the Las Vegas Strip for a little over two decades, since they first dazzled Vegas visitors and locals in 1998.

Since the Strip was effectively shut down on March 17, due to Gov. Sisolak’s mandated closure of casinos as a result of COVID-19, the fountains went dark along with it.

For over two months, the free daily show, which runs every 30 minutes throughout the day and every 15 minutes beginning at 7 pm through midnight, has gone dry.

More than a thousand, lit-up fountains soar through the Vegas night sky, reaching heights of up to 460 feet, dancing to musical works ranging from classical, operatic pieces, to old-school crooner favorites from Rat Pack legends like Frank Sinatra, all the way to today’s pop hits and even soundtracks from new cult TV shows like Game of Thrones.

The Bellagio Fountains were created to express the romantic spirit of the Bellagio resort, but they’ve evolved to highlight the essence of the luxurious Las Vegas experience as a whole. Without them, the city hasn’t dazzled as brightly.

But, with casinos tentatively reopening on June 4, per Gov. Sisolak’s official decision, the Bellagio Fountains will once again welcome back visitors to a new song.

Iconic Bellagio Fountain Moments Over the Years

Throughout Vegas history, the Bellagio Fountains have become more than just a beautiful backdrop for those passing by, it’s transferred over to the digital space, being used in music videos, in performances for the Billboard Music Awards, and of course in films like the Vegas classics “Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Hangover.”

In 2001, Britney Spears took it to the water for her 2001 Billboard Music Awards (BMA) performance. Drake took a page from her playbook 16 years later and performed the lake during his 2017 BMA segment.

Bruno Mars, who was in the middle of his Vegas residency when the coronavirus shut down happened, rode jet skis across the lake for his “24K Magic” music video.

For the National Hockey League’s playoffs promo in June 2018, Vegas’ own Panic! At the Disco performed live on the lake, and even got doused by the waterfalls while doing so.

Spoiled Fountain Plans for 2020 NFL Draft

This year, the Bellagio Fountains were supposed to see its most exciting scene yet. Before the COVID-19 shutdown changed the plan, Las Vegas was crowned as the host city for the 2020 NFL Draft (it since became a digital-event). This was a huge deal.

With the city getting their first professional football league back in January, the Las Vegas Raiders, Vegas was determined as the perfect place to kick things off.

The plan was to boat draft prospects across the Bellagio lake to a red-carpet stage, in a suspenseful, elaborate set-up. But not to worry, Las Vegas will still get a chance to wow football fans with this memorable scene in 2022, as they’ve been named at hosts of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Bellagio Will Be One of MGM Resorts Two Properties to Reopen

When Las Vegas resorts finally get the green light to open their doors back up, visitors can expect to see only a selected handful of casinos opening up on the Strip to boot.

Earlier this month, MGM Resorts International revealed that they would only be opening up two of its 10 Strip properties initially, the Bellagio and New-York New-York. The idea was to not open them all up at once to gauge tourism levels, the state of the COVID-19 outbreak, and to provide at least two options to accommodate different traveler’s budgets.

MGM Resort’s acting CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, also announced on the Today Show that the two properties that will be reopening initially will only be operating at 25 percent capacity.

Hornbuckle expressed his confidence in reopening at capped capacity levels, coupled with the company’s newly developed health and safety reopening measures, known as its “Seven-Point Safety Plan.”

The reopening plan includes employee temperature screenings, requiring employees to wear masks at all times, social distancing to be followed by staff and guests, optimizing properties’ HVAC systems, COVID-19 incident protocols, increased hand sanitizer dispenser stations placed throughout high-traffic areas on the property, and more.

Last Thursday, Las Vegas began running its largest COVID-19 testing site at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the tens of thousands of casino employees who will be returning to work once the shutdown is lifted.

Stay Tuned

We can’t wait to see the Bellagio Fountains soar through the Vegas sky again. It’ll be the proper “Welcome back!” signal for guests, staff, and locals who will finally get to visit the Las Vegas Strip once it reopens.

Hopefully, if coronavirus cases remain steady and the Nevada Gaming Control Board provides enough promising data to give Gov. Sisolak confidence in his decision to reopen, it will be next Thursday, June 4.

Are you excited to return to Las Vegas and see the Bellagio Fountains dance once more? We sure are.

We know that for a while, Vegas is going to look a lot different than the Vegas we’re used to, but it will still be Vegas, and more importantly, it will be open for all to enjoy again. Now that’s something to celebrate about.

NV Governor Sisolak Aims for June 4 Reopening Date for Casinos

Las Vegas Strip at NightIt’s now officially been two weeks since Nevada has been in Phase 1 of its reopening plan, which it entered in on May 9.

Governor Sisolak advised that coronavirus data trends, including the number of daily positive cases, hospitalizations, and COVID-19-related deaths, would be monitored over the 14-day period to determine whether Nevada would be able to enter into Phase 2.

So far, so good it seems. The Silver State hasn’t seen any significant jumps in coronavirus reports, paving the way for Nevada to fully reopen as things stand now.

On May 26, Sisolak is set to hold a press conference discussing Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, as well as a reopening date for Nevada’s gaming industry. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will also hold an information workshop then discussing COVID-19 health and safety response measures for casino-hotels.

Before casinos are able to reopen, the Control Board needs at least seven days to review reopening plans from Nevada properties.

But this is great news for the state’s gaming industry, after a two-month-long shutdown, Nevada casinos finally have an end in sight. Sisolak says the state aims to have casinos statewide reopened by June 4.

Casinos are Eager and Ready to Return

The tentative reopening date has been a long time coming for Nevada casinos, who have been preparing for the day they get the green light to reopen for the past few weeks.

A majority of the companies in Las Vegas have been opening booking dates since Mid-May, with some of them accepting reservations for Memorial Day Weekend, a date they hoped they would get to reopen.

Many casinos have had to remain flexible with their booking dates, opening up booking dates just in case they were allowed to reopen, only to cancel them later when they didn’t actually get the green light.

But preparing to reopen has kept them busy enough until they get the official announcement from Gov. Sisolak. Resorts have been carefully developing their reopening plans, including a hefty list of specific health and safety protocols to ensure their properties are ready enough to welcome back guests and staff.

“It’s been a long two months for us. It’s been a long two months for everyone in the state, but we’re ready to go back to business in Nevada,” said Boyd Gaming Corp. spokesman David Strow.

Strip resorts are ready to finally open their doors, and for properties like Wynn Resorts, they’re looking forward to working with regulators to open safely and on time. The mass testing of casino employees officially went underway last Thursday, to prepare for casinos reopening.

According to Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver, the company applauds the Nevada governor for his targeted June 4 reopening date.

Weaver says Sisolak’s careful, science-based approach to shutting down casinos and halting tourism to stop the spread of the coronavirus is what has effectively enabled the state to finally open its economy back up, avoiding what could have been a possible catastrophe and an even longer lockdown period.

Tourists are Ready to Return, Too

With the whole country on lockdown practically these past two months too, the cabin fever has many ready to return to the city of lights. And while the virus is still an ever-present concern, Strip casinos are doing everything they can to make guests feel confident to return to their properties.

Their new safety protocols include everything from thermal screenings or entrants and ensuring that all staff members wear face masks, to rearranging casino floors to support social distancing and the careful monitoring of HVAC systems to name a few.

Combine these publicized reopening plans with the eagerness of the public to finally get out of the house and “return to normal”, and now you have Las Vegas in the prime position to welcome back guests at a more opportune time.

One frequent visitor from Fresco, CA, Virginia Allegra, says she plans to come back to Las Vegas as soon as it reopens. She’s so eager to return, in fact, that she’s already rebooked six separate reservations with MGM Resorts. The re-bookings were due to the company’s tentative reopening dates being pushed back several times this month.

Another frequent visitor from California, Joann Woodward, a nurse practitioner from Downey, says she plans on returning in mid-June, in order to give casino companies enough time to work out their new reopening measures.

And while she’s a nurse, she says she feels pretty safe in casinos.

“I’m a nurse practitioner, I already wash my hands 40, 50 times a day. I’m not going to shake hands with anybody or hug them,” Woodward added.

Control Board Holds a Lot of Weight in Decision to Officially Reopen

In Sisolak’s Thursday announcement of the tentative June 4 reopening date for Nevada’s gaming industry, he explained that the official decision to reopen is dependent on the evaluation of the state’s COVID-19 trends, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s meeting results.

The Governor should be provided with enough information to feel confident about his decision to reopen June 4 with the Control Board’s information workshop, plus positive COVID-19 state trends, should they continue to remain steady and not significantly increase.

Should the early June reopening date hold firm, it will allow casinos across the state at least two weeks to prepare.

That should hopefully give properties enough time to remobilize their workforce, iron out reopening measures, and begin marketing and promotional blasts to get guests back to their doors.

“It’ll be good to see the energy and the jobs and the life come back to the Strip, even under these unusual circumstances,” said Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors LLC.

Reopening Announcement Came Soon After NV’s Unemployment Numbers Were Disclosed

Gov. Sisolak’s tentative reopening date announcement came on the heels of disclosing the state’s shocking unemployment rate: 28.2 percent.

According to targetable data, that’s the highest unemployment rate of any state in any month since 1976. The rate is so high that even local economists are alarmed by it.

While the numbers are shocking, it’s no surprise that a state that’s largely dependent on tourism and gaming, two industries that were knocked flat on their back by the coronavirus pandemic, has been impacted in the way that it has been.

Jeremy Aguero, an economist with Applied Analysis, says that reviving Nevada’s gaming industry will likely be the driving force in bringing the state’s economy back to life.

“It’s an important first step in pushing our economy forward, getting our economy back to where it was previously,” Aguero said. “There’s a great deal of uncertainty, but we’re taking steps to open all facets of our economy, and that’s exactly what needs to be done.”

Reopening Must be Done Successfully to Avoid Second Wave of the Virus

The Governor has been understandably plagued by his decision to reopen the state at the right time.

There’s obviously a lot that’s weighing on his decision, but no bigger issues than the health of the public and the health of the economy.

For one, the economy and livelihood of industry workers are dependent on the gaming industry reopening. It would mean that thousands of Nevadans could return to work and that the state could start generating sizable income again.

But on the other hand, the health and safety of the public in the face of the deadly coronavirus has been paramount in the decisions that have been made up to this point. The reopening needs to happen at the right time, at the right time, to avoid potentially running into a second wave of the virus.

That’s been a major reason why the decision to reopen has been solely dependent on the state’s COVID-19 trends. If reopening happened prematurely, it could have exacerbated the number of COVID-19 cases, and effectively sent the state back into lockdown.

Sisolak has been clear that that’s a situation he’s been trying to avoid from happening since the state of all this.

Stay Tuned

After what feels like months of waiting for a specific reopening date, the state finally has one.

It feels like there’s finally a light at the end of this long COVID-19 tunnel, and while we know it will take some time for Las Vegas to thrive like it did before this virus hit, we’re ecstatic that it will get to reopen soon.

What do you think of the state’s tentative June 4 reopening date? Will you be returning once casinos open up their doors? Share with us in the comments below!

Be sure to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Caesars Palace, Flamingo First Caesars Entertainment Properties to Reopen; Free Self-Parking

Flamingo Hotel in Las VegasRecently, Caesar’s Entertainment Corp. announced that Caesars Palace would be the first of its 10 properties to reopen when the shutdown order is lifted hopefully within the new couple of weeks.

Now, the company is announcing that Flamingo will open alongside Caesars Palace, making for two of their properties that will see the light of day to start. It’s likely Caesars Entertainment took a hint from MGM Resorts International’s playbook, who will be opening two of their 10 Strip properties initially: the Bellagio and New York-New York.

We think it’s a smart move, giving guests two options to choose from to fit within different traveler’s budgets.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. also announced a sweet perk: It will be suspending its self-parking fees at its properties when they reopen. This is similar to announcement MGM Resorts made last week that free parking will be made available at every resort that reopens.

According to the company’s Thursday announcement, the two properties will comply with reopening directives and guidance provided by Gov. Sisolak, the Nevada Gaming Control Board and public health authorities.

Bookings are available on the company’s website starting May 29.

What Will Available at the Two Properties Once They Reopen?

The company’s news release advised that both Caesars Palace and Flamingo will have much of its traditional offerings available, under stringent social distancing guidelines.

That means that lodging, dining options, traditional gaming options such as slots and table games, and access to outdoor pools will be open to the public, but it will look different for a while.

Caesar’s Entertainment’s CEO, Tony Rodio, advised that the number of seats at card tables will be cut in half, going from six seats down to three. No other individuals outside of the table players will be allowed within six feet of them.

As far as social distancing for slot machines go, every other slot will be deactivated on the casino floor, with stools removed from the disabled slots. This is being done to discourage gamblers from lingering and hovering in those spots to comply with social distancing.

Caesar’s Other Reopening Measures

In a determined effort to provide the safest properties for returning staff and guests, Caesar’s Entertainment outlined their health and safety reopening protocols earlier this month.

While guests are being encouraged to comply with social distancing guidelines, and the casino floors being rearranged to support that, Caesar’s staff will be held to stricter requirements upon reopening.

Those requirements include daily temperature checks of employees and making sure that all staff wears face masks throughout their shift.

Rodio also announced that prior to returning to work, Caesar’s staff will be given a questionnaire to complete, which is being used to determine whether an employee has symptoms related to COVID-19, or if they’ve engaged in activities recently that would require a coronavirus testing.

Mass testing for casino employees went underway on Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with 4,000 daily tests expected to be administered. Caesar’s Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resort International employees are to make up the bulk of employees tested, as the two casino operators have a combined 150,000 hotel rooms between them.

Harrah’s and LINQ to Reopen Next

After Caesars Entertainment tests the waters with the reopening of Caesars Palace and Flamingo, they plan on opening Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino the LINQ Hotel & Casino’s gaming floor next.

According to the company, demand will determine how soon these properties will reopen, but it’s also expected that many of the LINQ Promenade’s retail and dining options will reopen soon too, as well as the High Roller Observation Wheel.

When Will Properties in Las Vegas Reopen?

As of today, state gambling regulators still haven’t given the green light to lift the Governor’s shutdown order, although casino operators continue to develop their reopening plans. Many Strip resorts are hoping for a reopening date of June 1.

Here’s what we know: Nevada is currently in Phase 1 of its reopening plan. That allowed for the reopening of retail stores, restaurants, barbershops, hair and nail salons, with the requirement of only operating at 50 percent capacity.

No bars at restaurants are allowed to operate or allow seating. In the same breath, other Vegas experiences such as buffets, shows, and valet parking are still suspended.

Gov. Sisolak advised that the state would monitor how well Nevada fares under Phase 1 over a 14-day period.

It entered into Phase 1 on May 9, which would technically mean May 23 would be the determining period to move onto the next phase, and hopefully that means the reopening of casinos.

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Currently, the state has over 7,255 positive coronavirus cases and 378 related deaths. However, there have been no significant increases in the number of daily cases, hospitalizations, or COVID-19-related deaths, which is what the Governor wanted to see in order to move the state along in its phased reopening plan.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board scheduled an information workshop, where it would listen to state and health officials’ readiness for reopening on May 26. Regulators have been requiring casino companies to submit their health and safety reopening plans. While some properties have come public with their reopening plans, the Control Board is allowed to keep that information private.

Stay Tuned

It’s good news that Caesars Entertainment Corp. decided to reopen another one of their other iconic properties to start.

Hearing more and more casino companies coming out with their reopening plans is a positive sign that reopening is just around the corner. It also gives returning guests a helpful insight into how seriously they’re taking reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the confidence to come back.

What do you think about Caesar’s Entertainment reopening only two of their properties to start?

Share your thoughts with us below, and be sure to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Begins Mass Testing of Casino Employees Ahead of Reopening

Las Vegas Convention CenterWith casinos in Las Vegas gearing to reopen their doors in the very near future, with some resorts aiming for a June 1st reopening, the city will begin testing the first of thousands of casino employees for the new coronavirus starting this Thursday.

According to the official plan announced by several casino operators, local tourism, union, and hospital officials, the first group of casino employees that will get tested are those who are receiving job callbacks ahead of Las Vegas resorts reopening.

Officials have a hefty goal in mind for the testing, aiming to get 4,000 test samples administered for the coronavirus checkup daily. Results are expected to be delivered within 48 hours, and employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be referred to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) to get contact tracing conducted.

Why Mass Testing Casino Employees is Essential

With casino employees on the verge of entering back into the gaming industry workforce, it’s vital that precautions are taken to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Clark County, especially when casinos will be repopulated by numerous staff and guests again soon.

The prevention of the spread of COVID-19 starts with preliminary measures, like getting employees tested before they even step foot back onto the job-site.

According to Geoconda Argüello-Kline, union secretary-treasurer, coronavirus testing ensures that Culinary Union members are safe and healthy enough to come back to work. Before Las Vegas resorts even open again, the health and safety of staff and visitors is the number one priority.

It will also give out-of-town visitors more confidence to return to the Las Vegas Strip, knowing that the city is taking the health of their staff very seriously.

In the same way that the public will get a sense of ease from knowing casino operators’ reopening plans, is the same way they’ll gain more peace by knowing that tens of thousands of casino employees have been tested for COVID-19 and only the ones who have tested negative for the virus will be allowed back to work.

MGM Resorts & Caesars Entertainment Will Have the Highest Numbers of Employees Testing

It’s no surprise that the Strip’s two largest casino operators, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, will make up the bulk of employee testing. Both companies have 10 Strip properties each, with over 150,000 hotel rooms between them.

Former MGM Resorts executive, Jim Murren, is helping lead the way for employee testing by the efforts he’s put forth in helping state marshals boost testing capacity.

Caesars CEO, Tony Rodio, also recently announced that company employees would be given a questionnaire before returning to work that will determine their immediate need to be tested for COVID-19.

Testing to be held at Las Vegas Convention Center

The largest mass testing site in Nevada to date will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, as it has an adequate amount of space to pull off the required casino employee testing.

The center will work in partnership with University Medical Center (UMC), the Culinary Union and MGM, Caesars, and Boyd Gaming Properties in testing up to 4,000 casino employees a day.

“This is huge for Las Vegas,” says UMC Spokesman Scott Kerbs.

According to Boyd Properties, any employee who is returning to work will be getting tested at the Convention Center.

Current Coronavirus Cases in Nevada

On Tuesday, state health officials reported over 7,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 365 related deaths.

Over the past few weeks, the number of cases has steadied out with no significant daily jumps in reported cases or deaths.

Right now, Nevada is in Phase 1 of its reopening plan, which it entered into on May 9. Phase 1 called for the reopening of retail stores, restaurants, barbers, hair, and nail salons at 50 percent capacity.

Governor Sisolak advised that he and his team of medical experts would monitor the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over a 14-day period once the state entered into Phase 1. Sisolak said the next steps would be determined after reviewing those results. According to the Governor’s phased reopening plan, casinos will reopen in Phase 3 or 4.

Stay Tuned

The announcement of mass testing of casino employees is a good sign that casinos will be reopening sometime soon.

What do you think about Las Vegas getting 4,000 casino employees tested daily, ahead of casinos reopening?

As a visitor or casino worker, does it give you more peace of mind to return to Las Vegas resorts? We’d love to hear your thoughts below. Stay safe, and continue to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

The Venetian Offering Free Night Stay for Essential Workers

The Venetian Resort in Las VegasThe spirit of giving has been strong in The Venetian Las Vegas, even throughout the coronavirus shutdown that has crippled the Las Vegas economy. From the beginning of the month through May 14, the resort partnered with Catholic Charities to provide 1,000 boxed meals daily to the homeless throughout the valley.

The company also graciously continued to offer full pay and benefits to its 9,300 employees through May 17. Emergency pay for close to 1,200 employees spanning across 14 different Venetian restaurants was also covered.

And on April 1, the Venetian’s parent company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., donated two million pieces of personal protective equipment to Nevada and New York.

Now, the Venetian want to say thank you in its own way to local first responders and essential workers. Until the end of the year, the casino-hotel will be offering one free night stay to those have been on the front lines during the pandemic.

Those front-line workers who will be eligible to redeem the free night stay include those from the following sectors:

  • Agriculture, livestock & feed mills
  • Air transportation
  • Auto repair services & trucking service centers
  • Banks & financial institutions
  • Businesses or organizations providing food, shelter, or critical social services for disadvantaged populations
  • Educators, childcare centers and daycares
  • Essential stays in hotels, commercial lodging, dormitories, shelters, and homeless encampments
  • Fire services, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services & public safety agencies
  • Food processing
  • Gas stations & truck stops
  • Grocery stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, convenience & discount stores
  • Healthcare services
  • Home maintenance/repair services
  • Laundromats & dry cleaners
  • Logistics & Supply Chain Operations: Warehousing, storage, distribution, and supply-chain related operations
  • Pharmacies, healthcare operations, & biomedical facilities
  • Post offices & shipping outlets
  • Public transportation
  • Public utilities
  • Trash collection
  • Veterinary services & pet stores

The Resort Will Start Accepting Reservations for June 1

While many casino operators were banking on a Memorial Day Weekend reopening, with the weekend quickly approaching, it’s highly unlikely casinos will be given the green light to reopen by week’s end.

Instead, The Venetian is anticipating a reopening date of June 1 and will start accepting reservations for that date on its official website soon. The company will reopen in phases, with the Venetian tower being the first to accept hotel reservations, with the Palazzo accepting reservations at a later date.

In the statement the company released announcing their decision to begin accepting reservations, they advised that they will continue to comply with guidance provided by federal, state, and local authorities which include the Southern Nevada Health District, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Venetian Clean Initiative Will Ensure Guests Return to a Safe Property

The Venetian Clean commitment, which was released at the end of April, outlined the specific health and safety protocols the resort plans to implement upon reopening.

That initiative includes 800 separate initiatives that have been thoughtfully considered and chosen based on the level of safety it will provide to guests and staff members.

Some of those major protocols include the thermal screening of all casino entrants, including staff and guests, offering face masks for guests to wear, requiring employees to wear masks, and rearranging the casino floor to support social distancing.

Stay Tuned

It’s impressive to see just how generous The Venetian has been in serving others during these challenging times. The list of frontline workers that will be able to receive a complimentary night stay at the luxury resort is extensive, and we’re glad that these brave workers will be able to have a night to enjoy themselves, free of charge.

What do you think of Venetian’s free night stay offer? Are you a frontline worker in the Las Vegas valley who will take advantage of the offer?

Share with us below!

Could Younger Gamblers be the Driving Force Behind Las Vegas’ Recovery?

Cosmopolitan Casino FloorWith Las Vegas casinos nearing reopening, questions are surfacing as to what will help drive the economy back to glory.

We know that for one, casino operators must continue developing strong reopening plans and safety protocols so that visitors can feel like Las Vegas is a safe space to return to amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Confidence in air travel is also a big one, as it’s the first step in getting out-of-state travelers who might not be close enough to drive in, the peace of mind in taking the journey necessary to get to Las Vegas.

But what else could help revive Vegas’ economy when the city does finally reopen? Well, according to Synergy Blue, a Las Vegas skill-based game maker, the answer could be younger gamblers.

In late April, Synergy Blue took an online survey of 1,000 U.S. gamblers and found that it was the younger gamblers who showed the most confidence in returning once the shutdown lifts.

According to Synergy Blue’s CEO, George Washington, it doesn’t come as a shock to anyone that the younger demographic is more risk-oriented and has a bigger appetite for social interaction, especially after being cooped up for the past two months.

Younger Demographic Likely Safest to Return

With the highest risk group of the coronavirus being those 65 and older or those with underlying health conditions or chronic lung disease, all signs point to the younger demographic as being the healthiest to return to Las Vegas resorts when they reopen.

Synergy Blue’s survey found that 62 percent of U.S. gamblers who were 29-years-old or younger said they would return to Las Vegas whenever stay-at-home orders and the shutdown are lifted, as opposed to the group 60 years old, where only 40 percent said they would return.

While younger gamblers aren’t known for being heavy spenders, if a higher percentage of them are willing to return to Vegas, they could prove as the driving force behind the city’s long-awaited economic recovery.

“It’s going to take time for some people (to return), but there’s a positive spin to this,” Washington said. “Over half of the people surveyed are willing to come straight out there (to casinos). People will be back to some normalcy soon.”

Younger Gamblers Could be Pose a Paradox for Casino Operators

According to Nehme Abouzeid, president and founder of LaunchVegas LLC, a consulting firm in Las Vegas, while the younger generation will likely be the first to return to land-based casinos because of their health, the typical slots player is older.

Abouzeid says it would be an “inverse relationship.”

The Las Vegas Convention Visitor’s Authority (LVCVA) also found that older gamblers typically shell out more money compared to their younger counterparts. Around 30 percent of baby boomers were found to have a total gambling budget of around $600.

Young Travelers Who Don’t Visit the Casinos Can Still Help Las Vegas Recover

Even if young travelers aren’t going to be hitting the slots or crap tables, their tourism will still help Las Vegas recover.

There is a lot for younger visitors to be attracted to in Las Vegas, from pools to shows and restaurants. And with the layouts of these popular amenities being modified to fit social distancing, younger tourists can feel ease returning to them to have fun while being protected.

Online Gaming Sees Major Boost Amid Nationwide Casino Shutdown

The survey also revealed that online gaming has ramped up heavily amid the nationwide shutdown of casinos.

According to the survey, 64 percent of the 1,000 U.S. gamblers questioned said they’ve played mobile games or participated in online gambling during the pandemic. It was the first time to gamble online for 1 of 5 of those surveyed.

“It seems that online gaming is having its test-drive moment,” Abouzeid said. “With land-based casinos shuttered, virtually no sports to bet on, and media consumption up due to the lockdown, online casinos are enjoying a unique window of opportunity.”

A whopping 93 percent of those gamblers surveyed also said they would continue to gamble online or use mobile gambling even when stay-at-home orders are lifted. But while this online sector has seen a major boost amid the outbreak, Washington said the growth shouldn’t hurt traditional casinos as the two options provide different advantages for different gamblers.

Washington expects to see more growth in the online gambling space, but not enough that it will noticeably put a dent in the traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

About Synergy Blue

Founded in 2013, Synergy Blue is an industry leader in entertainment gaming solutions, known for the skill-influenced and arcade-style games they create. They create “Fun You Can Bet On!” The Las Vegas-based gaming company designs products for an emerging class of players. They have products and applications spanning across six different countries.

Latest Las Vegas Tourism Ad Highlights ‘New Reality’ for the City

Bellagio Fountains in Las VegasIn Las Vegas’ brand new tourism advertisement, it’s letting visitors who come to the city once the shutdown is lifted know what they can expect to walk into, and according to the ad, that’s a more intimate, #OnlyYou Vegas experience.

The video’s opening line confirms the era of COVID-19 we’re all currently in. A female narrator begins by saying:

“The world has changed…and Vegas is changing with it.”

But the commercial spot is putting a positive twist on the ‘New Vegas’ guests will experience when they’re able to return. The advertisement, which was created by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, emphasizes that the city is working on creating a more “intimate” Vegas experience, with more space for guests to enjoy.

A “New Vegas” Experience for the “New Reality”

The video highlights solo travelers and different couples experiencing popular Vegas scenes, with a couple dancing in front of the Bellagio with the iconic fountains going off in the background, to more secluded experiences to emphasis the social distancing that’s to come, like walking hand-in-hand on a trail in Red Rock Canyon, or swimming in a rooftop pool at night with no one else around.

A solo tourist can also be seen toward the end of the video taking in the sights and architecture of the Las Vegas Strip, with minimal people passing by in the background.

That’s something that will definitely be a new sight to see, especially when the “old Vegas” was full of hoards of crowds, sometimes making it impossible for people to even get a photo without groups of people walking in front of it or photobombing it, whether intentional or not.

The closing line assures those anxious to get back to the Entertainment Capital of the World that when Vegas is ready to see them again, they’ll be the first to know.

The new 30-second tourism spot will air across multiple cable networks beginning this week.

You can view it in its entirety below:

The Ad Compliments Vegas’ New “Only Vegas” Slogan that Aired Earlier This Year

Earlier this year in January, the infamous, award-winning “What happens here, stays here,” campaign finally got a facelift after 17 long years from when it was first introduced.

R&R Partners, the creative advertising agency behind Sin City’s original catchphrase slogan was behind the reimagined new slogan, “What happens here, only happens here,” too.

The goal behind the reimagined slogan is to showcase Las Vegas as more than just a gambling and entertainment destination, to the city it’s grown to become, one that even holds its own as a new sport’s destination now, too.

The advertising agency spent several years working on the new branding. It wasn’t unveiled in its fully planned advertising capacity during the week it originally planned to air, the week of the 62nd Grammy Awards, although the 60-second commercial spot did air that night.

Grammy night this year, unfortunately, came on the heels of iconic basketball star Kobe Bryant’s tragic death on Jan. 26.

Instead of airing the new #OnlyHere slogan on marquees around the Strip and on various cable networks, instead, Las Vegas properties paid their respects to the NBA legend by displaying heartfelt messages for the Lakers all-star and those involved in the helicopter crash that claimed Bryant’s life, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and nine others.

In the latest “New Vegas” tourism spot, it combined the #OnlyYou intimacy theme with the new #OnlyVegas experience.

Guests Can Still Except Vegas Excitement When it Reopens

The new ad did a great job of conveying how different Las Vegas will look when it comes to reopening in the age of social distancing, but it also made sure to let visitors know that they can still expect “Vegas excitement” to be here when it returns, too.

Fewer crowds and casino safety measures, like guests getting thermal scannings of their internal temperature when entering casino properties, and seeing dealers and other casino staff with masks on, will no doubt take some time getting adjusted to, but it won’t cancel the fun that people come to Las Vegas expecting to get.

Like MGM Resorts acting CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, pointed out, a safe Vegas is still Vegas nonetheless.

Las Vegas hasn’t been the only thing shut down over these past few months. Nationwide, people have been subjected to stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus outbreak, and it’s likely that once the entertainment city reopens, people will want to return to experience fun and excitement again, especially after experiencing fear and lockdown induced from the pandemic.

Of course, it will depend on guests’ confidence in air travel, being around large groups of people, their confidence in Strip casinos safety protocols, and the state of the outbreak during the time Las Vegas reopens, but one thing is for sure: The city is eager and ready to welcome guests back, and it will provide guests with a unique, #OnlyYou intimate Vegas experience that they can only get here.

Memorial Day Weekend Reopening for Las Vegas Casinos Unlikely

Las Vegas StripWith Nevada entering into Phase 1 of its reopening plan on May 9, a week earlier than projected, it gave Las Vegas resorts some valid hope for the past few weeks that a Memorial Day Weekend reopening could be possible.

But, with the holiday weekend quickly approaching and no word yet from Governor Sisolak and the Nevada Gaming Control Board on lifting the shutdown order, it looks like that hope was short-lived.

Now, those resorts who began accepting reservations starting Memorial Day are pushing back their initial booking date until they receive further direction from state and local governing authorities.

Wynn Resorts was among the properties accepting reservations for Memorial Day Weekend, because, according to company spokesman Michael Weaver, the holiday weekend has consistently proven to be a popular time for Southern California visitors to visit Las Vegas and its properties. Last year, the city saw around 300,000 tourists come in from Southern Cali.

This is an important distinction, since visitation from Southern California guests who are able to drive into Las Vegas would likely prove more fruitful than expecting tourism from air travel to be nearly as high, especially when confidence in air travel amid the outbreak is understandably questionable.

The company was also hopeful for a holiday weekend reopening because they would have been able to have protective guest and staff measures in place.

Some Properties are Announcing their Reopening Measures

With casinos still in lockdown, the most important thing operators can do to prepare for reopening is developing a strong set of health and safety protocols.

A few mega-resorts have come public with their reopening plans, including MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, Treasure Island, The Venetian, and Caesars Palace.

Some common protocols among the properties include rearranging the casino floors to support social distancing guidelines, conducting non-invasive thermal screenings of entrants, ramping up cleaning and disinfecting methods, administering thorough COVID-19 training to employees, and not allowing housekeeping to enter rooms during entire guest stays among other measures.

While these properties have made their reopening plans public, it turns out the Nevada Gaming Control Board is allowed to keep reopening plans for other properties confidential if they don’t decide to go public with theirs.

We hope that other properties bring their reopening plans to light, as it will give the public more confidence in returning post reopening.

New Reopening Dates for Various Las Vegas Resorts

As of Monday afternoon, here’s a look into what the new dates Las Vegas resorts are beginning to take reservations:

  • Boyd Gaming Corp., June 1
  • Caesars Entertainment Corp., May 29
  • Circus Circus, May 31
  • The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, June 4
  • Las Vegas Sands Corp., No reservations being accepted on the company website at this time
  • Station Casinos, June 1
  • Westgate, June 18
  • Wynn Resorts Ltd., June 1

Las Vegas Casinos Will Look Different When They Reopen

While a definitive reopening date is unclear, one thing is: Las Vegas casinos are going to look different when they reopen, at least for a while.

It won’t be the crowded Las Vegas that people are used to, filled with all the hustle and bustle. Instead, it will be a more intimate Vegas experience.

For one, fewer people will be allowed to gamble, at table games, and while playing slots on the casino floor. This is being done to support social distancing guidelines. MGM Resorts even announced last week that when they reopen their first two properties, The Bellagio and New York-New York, that they will only allow the properties to be filled at 25 percent capacity.

Casino employees will be on the lookout for crowd gatherings to ensure that guests keep their distance at all times while on resort properties.

Dealers and other casino staff will also be wearing face coverings throughout their shift, with dealers to offer up hand sanitizer to gamblers while they play.

Restaurants and bars, retail spaces, and pools will all look different too, with fewer crowds and more space between individuals and different parties of people.

Stay Tuned

Well, while it certainly would have been nice to see Las Vegas reopen during the holiday weekend, we trust that authorities will give the city the green light to reopen at the safest possible time, whether that’s in the next couple of weeks of further into June.

Were you expecting casinos to return for Memorial Day Weekend? And will you be one of the first to visit Las Vegas when it does finally reopen, or will you wait it out to see how things go first?

Let us know in the comments below, and as always, stay safe and healthy out there!

Restaurants in Downtown Las Vegas Now Temporarily Offering Sidewalk Dining

Fremont District Restaurants in Downtown Las VegasWith Gov. Sisolak announcement of Nevada entering into Phase 1 of its staggered reopening plan on May 9, it effectively enabled dine-in restaurants across the Las Vegas valley to reopen at half capacity.

Now, the City of Las Vegas found an even more creative solution to serving patrons. Restaurants within the area spanning across the Arts District, Fremont East, and the heart of Downtown LV can now temporarily expand their restaurant sitting out onto the sidewalk.

Social distancing rules apply to the new accommodations, such as restaurant operators leaving six feet of space between the outside tables on the sidewalk and pedestrians walking past the restaurant. Restaurant patios must also be marked with some form of removable barriers.

Cooking is prohibited on sidewalks, and music can only be played from inside the restaurant, not outside on the sidewalk patio.

In addition, sidewalk patios cannot overlap with adjacent businesses by over 50 feet. To not run into the issue of overlapping with other businesses, which could easily happen especially in Fremont East district where restaurants like Le Thai, a popular Thai restaurant downtown, are right next door to bars and other restaurants, the city recommends that neighboring businesses come together to work on their outdoor seating plans.

As of right now, casinos and bars remain closed, but there is a strong possibility they could be opening back up by the end of the month or in early June.

Restaurant Reopening Guidelines in NV

After nearly two months, Nevadans can finally enjoy a meal inside a restaurant. Previous directives allowed for only carry out orders and deliveries through services like Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, or UberEats for restaurants who remain opened during the lockdown.

This is a big leap forward for the Silver State, whose economy was rocked by the coronavirus outbreak. Of course, reopening restaurants amid an active outbreak requires that things look a little bit different for a while.

One of the biggest restrictions for reopening is that restaurants can only allow 50 percent seating capacity, per the local fire code. This is the first step in following social distancing guidelines, as it caps the number of people in a restaurant building at once. Seating is also prohibited in the bar area of any restaurant.

Tables will be spaced six feet apart, and restaurant staff are wearing masks while they serve customers. Customers are also being encouraged to wear masks while dining as well. Sisolak is encouraging restaurant operators to go by reservations in order to monitor the number of patrons entering into their facility.

For pubs, bars, breweries, and wineries that normally serve food, they’ve also been allowed to reopen to serve food strictly and out of the bar area.

Southern Nevada Health District’s Guidance for Restaurants Reopening in Phase 1

The Southern Nevada Health District has provided its COVID-19 guidance for food establishments reopening in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, as well as a checklist for operators to run through.

Trained and Prepared Staff

Employee health screenings should be assessed upon arrival daily. Pre-shift meetings in a space that allows for social distancing should be conducted daily where staff reviews COVID-19 procedures for operation, including proper use and care of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing guidelines, hand hygiene protocols, proper glove use and food handling measures.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

A cleaning and disinfecting plan for high-touch surfaces and access areas should be thoughtfully developed, as well as training staff on how to properly disinfect tables and chairs after every guest use.

Whenever possible, food establishments are being encouraged to use disposable dining ware instead, including utensils, cups, and plates.

Measures for keeping the facility equipped with a fresh and safe water supply must also be followed.

Back of House Areas

Restaurant management is being encouraged to stagger employee shifts to avoid large groups of employees from gathering in back-of-house corridors and service elevators.

Social distancing signage in multiple languages should be posted in visible areas in the facility, as well as social distancing floor markers for areas where employees gather or wait in lines, such as time clocks, locker rooms, and uniform control rooms.

Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers should be provided at employee entrances or areas where high-contact items are used, such as time clocks.

Employees should be constantly reminded to wear face coverings throughout their shift.

Front of House Areas

An adjusted floor plan to reduce occupancy per the State and Federal guidelines of allowing 6 feet distance between tables should be implemented.

Various signage should be posted as critical reminders. Signage types include:

  • Social distancing signage clearly posted in visible areas to remind patrons to keep their safe distance while in the establishment.
  • Signage on the proper use of face coverings.
  • Signage directing customers who have symptoms of COVID-19 or underlying health conditions of their delivery options.

Providing touchless hand sanitizer dispensers at entrances or other high-traffic areas of the establishment. Reservations are also being encouraged to limit the number of people in indoor and outdoor waiting areas, to maintain social distancing between waiting parties.

Consider switching to a menu board to limit multiple guests touching individual menus.

Removing all customer self-service condiments and utensils, and not presetting tables with utensils.

Refills on water or beverages should also be done at the table, or by leaving a pitcher for guests to self-pour.

Note: As of right now, buffets and self-service establishments are suspended until further notice.

Stay Tuned

It’s good to see the positive momentum going with food establishment reopening in Las Vegas and statewide.

Restaurants in casinos have also been allowed to reopen in Phase 1, granted that there is a street, outdoor seating option to keep guests from entering onto the casino floors.

What do you think of Downtown Las Vegas temporarily allowing sidewalk dining? Will you be heading out to enjoy a curbside meal soon?

We’d love to hear your thoughts below! Be sure to check back for more coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

 

Casino Reopening Plans Should be Made Available to Public

Aerial View of Las Vegas Strip at NightWith Nevada’s casinos on the verge of reopening, the most vital order of business for them will be ensuring guests feel comfortable and safe upon reentering their doors.

A few mega properties on the Las Vegas Strip, such as Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, The Venetian, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts properties have all recently unveiled their new health and safety protocols in the era of COVID-19.

That’s been a beneficial move for casino operators, as the transparency allows guests to have more peace of mind when it comes to exactly what Las Vegas properties are doing to welcome them back amid the coronavirus pandemic. By stepping up to make their plans public, those properties will likely see guests flocking to their resorts first.

But, while the Nevada Gaming Control board is mandating every licensee, from megaresorts on the Strip to gas station convenience stores that offer slot machine games, to turn in their reopening plans, it seems that the Control board plans on keeping them confidential.

This can definitely be problematic in Las Vegas making its long-awaited return, especially when the public’s worries would ease given a full public disclosure of health and safety reopening plans.

Releasing Reopening Plans Would Benefit Everyone

For one, fully disclosing reopening plans benefits those who wish to return to Las Vegas once the shutdown order is lifted by taking a load of worry off of their shoulders, especially during the current, fragile COVID-19 climate.

The more thorough and detailed operators are in making sure their properties stand up against an ever-present virus, the more guests will feel confident in setting foot in those properties doors.

Not only that but sharing best practices can set the example for how other properties across the Las Vegas Strip should handle reopening. Those best practices so far seem to be rearranging casino floors to support social distancing guidelines set by the CDC, conducting non-invasive thermal screenings of guests and staff at casino entrances, and ramping up cleaning and sanitation of high-traffic areas and frequently contacted hard surfaces.

By pooling these predictably effective protocols, it will make Vegas stand up even stronger against the virus.

Nevada Revised Statutes is Allowing Board to Treat Reopening Information as Confidential

While we applaud the casino operators who have gone public with how they plan on reopening during this uniquely challenging time, it’s unfortunate that Control Board is reluctant to make reopening plans readily available to the public.

It appears as though a specific section of Nevada Revised Statutes, specifically NRS 463.120, is the reason behind allowing the pressing information to be kept under wraps. Under NRS 463.120, the board and the Nevada Gaming Commission is able to treat such information that it receives as classified.

However, this is troublesome given the fact that asking for reopening plans isn’t the same as asking casino operators to reveal their trade secrets or disclose any information that would give away a competitive edge.

What this means is that it’s up to casino companies whether or not they want to make their reopening plans public, as it’s not being enforced by the Gaming Control Board. It would be a smart move on the part of casinos to do so because it’ll convey to the public, especially a public that wants to return to their specific property, that they’re being proactive in their approach to reopen safely and securely.

Governor Sisolak Could Override the Statute

While the Gaming Control Board is within their right, per the Nevada Revised Statutes, to keep reopening plans confidential, Gov. Sisolak could issue an executive order that would override it.

If there’s anything we’ve seen clearly these past two months in Las Vegas, it’s that Governor Sisolak holds the power to effectively shut down the city, as he did when he mandated the order for casinos to close to stop the spread of COVID-19.

If he can order casinos to shut down and reopen, surely by the same force of law could he require the Control Board to release reopening plans.

Casino Reopening Measures (What We Know So Far)

For the properties who went public with their reopening measures, they’ve provided a lot of insight into what Las Vegas will look like when it reopens amid the same outbreak that shut it down.

For one, we know that table games will look a lot different, with nearly half of the number of gamblers allow per table reduced.

Casino employees will also be required to wear facial masks during their entire shift. While guests will be encouraged to wear masks, it’s not being enforced.

Elevators will only allow four people on at once. Speaking of elevators, those buttons will be sanitized frequently, as well as any other hard surface that gets frequent, direct contact, such as escalator rails and slot machines.

HVAC systems will also be monitored routinely for maximum efficiency. Some properties, like Caesars Palace, announced they will be disabling every other slot machine and removing its stool to encourage social distancing.

Thermal screenings will also be a big one, as it will allow for every entrant to be quickly screened for internal temperature. Incident protocols are also being put into place, should an individual test positive for COVID-19 while on site.

Stay Tuned

In the weeks leading up to Las Vegas’ hopeful return, it’s been helpful and encouraging to see casino operators release their reopening health and safety measures. It gives us a good idea of the state of Sin City we’ll all be walking back into.

We also know that not all properties will reopen once they’re given the green light to do so. It seems like slow and steady is going to win the race in getting back to the Las Vegas we all know and love.

We hope that more properties come forward with their reopening plans so the public can gain more confidence in returning to Las Vegas. Do you think that Governor Sisolak should enforce the Control Board to release reopening plans?

We’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Caesars Palace Prepares for Safe Revival in the Era of COVID-19

Caesars Palace in Las VegasLast week, it was announced by Caesar’s Entertainment that the iconic Caesars Palace casino-hotel in Las Vegas would be the first of the company’s 10 Strip properties to reopen once casinos are given the green light to resume operations.

It’s the first time in the resort’s 54-year history that the doors have been locked and guests have been turned away.

That makes for reopening the 85-acre resort amid a global pandemic a daunting task, according to Caesars Entertainment CEO, Tony Rodio. Rodio describes the shutdown as the worst experience of his 40-year casino career.

“People want to get back to normal again. It’s just going to be a process getting there,” Rodio said.

Caesars Palace New Safety Measures

Caesars Palace is the latest property to unveil their new coronavirus safety initiative, joining MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and The Venetian.

Protocols announced by MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and The Venetian. include thermal screenings of staff and guests, suspending buffet services, monitoring and improving HVAC systems, administering COVID-19 training for employees, and defining incident protocols for guests or staff that test positive for coronavirus.

According to Rodio, Caesars Palace is retooling card tables, dice games, and slot machines all across the casino floor to comply with social distancing guidelines and disinfection protocols.

Every other slot machine throughout the casino floor will be disabled, as well as removing the stool in front of the machine. This is being done to ensure customers can’t stand and linger in those areas because the slot machines won’t even be active.

The number of seats at card tables will go from six to three, with no individuals being able to be within 6 feet of any of the three players who are sitting at the tables. While this goes against the classic casino scene of crowds gathering around to cheer on a lucky gambler, it fits within the scene of reopening a casino amid a virus outbreak.

Rodio also advised that the dice on crap tables will be cleaned after each roll and that chips will be sanitized frequently. As far as decks of cards go, those will be changed out regularly as there is enough on hand to do so.

For larger surfaces, including slot machines and elevator banks, employees will be provided with electronic sprayers to conduct frequent sanitization cleanings.

More contactless services will be provided, such as guests using kiosks to check into one of Caesar’s 3,960 rooms. Housekeeping will also be prohibited from entering rooms during the guest’s stay.

“So, you begin to see us moving, you know, taking a small step, but a very important step, back towards normalcy,” Rodio said.

Employees Will be Expected to Comply with Stricter Requirements

Both visitors and staff will be met with a whole new set of stringent requirements, but employees will be held to stricter requirements.

Those requirements include the mandatory wearing of masks throughout their shifts and undergoing daily temperature checks whenever getting onto the property.

Rodio also advised that employees will be given a questionnaire that they’ll have to complete before returning to work initially. The questionnaire will gauge whether the employee has any COVID-19-related symptoms or have participated in any activities that would call for them to get tested before returning to work.

Few Remaining Staff on Site

Nearly 90 percent of Caesar’s Entertainment’s 60,000 workers worldwide have been either furloughed or laid off.

With the few remaining staff on site, and no foreseeable reservation dates in the future, that is, until the Nevada Gaming Control Board gives the green light to reopen, it’s hard to predict how well the property will fare under this strict set of new rules.

It will certainly take the hands of a lot of workers to keep the property in compliance with its new set of health and safety procedures.

Las Vegas Culinary Union Holds Rolling Protest

Last Tuesday night, the Las Vegas culinary union held a rolling protect demanding that gaming operators reopen safely. The protest saw hundreds of cars lined up on the Las Vegas Strip filled with hospitality workers and their families.

Signs that read, “Don’t gamble with workers’ lives” were being waved from the cars. These workers are urging casino operators to be transparent with their reopening plans, as well as requesting Gov. Sisolak to implement the unions’ safety protocols in the Strip’s reopening.

Stay Tuned

With Caesars Palace being the first of Caesars Entertainment’s 10 properties to reopen, it’s good to see how the resort is planning on reopening safely.

As the current coronavirus situation stands in Las Vegas, it’s possible that casinos across the Strip will get to open their doors by early June, should all go well with the trajectory of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state.

What do you think of Caesar’s reopening safety measures? Do you think they should also conduct thermal screenings of guests and staff like some of the other casino operators have proposed?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and be sure to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Gov. Sisolak: Reopening NV in a ‘Safe Manner’ is Top Priority

Governor Steve SisolakWhile many Nevadans are eager to return their normal lives pre-coronavirus, Gov. Steve Sisolak is taking a measured, safe approach to reopening the state.

On last Saturday, May 9, Nevada entered into Phase 1 of its reopening plan which allowed retail businesses, restaurants, barbershops, hair and nail salons to finally open their doors after being shuttered for nearly two months.

The reopening of those sectors came with some restrictions, as to be expected, which include strict social distancing guidelines and allowing only 50 percent occupancy, per the local fire code. The state is expected to stay in Phase 1 for two weeks.

But while this is a good start to officially reopening Nevada, some think it’s not soon enough. Despite conflicting opinions, Sisolak is set on reopening the Silver State in the safest possible manner.

“We will be evaluating when it is safe to move into the second phase. Our goal is to continue reopening Nevada in a safe manner. What we do now will determine what we can do next,” Sisolak said.

Two Weeks Needed to Measure Phase 1 Before Moving to Next Phase

As outlined in Sisolak’s reopening plan, a recorded steady rate or decline of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations must be seen before the state can determine that it’s safe to move onto the next phase. State officials need to see a full two weeks of results from Phase 1 to gauge its impact and consider whether easing more restrictions is the right move.

According to Sisolak, Nevada has seen a 20-day decline in positive COVID-19 test results, dropping 3 percent in positive readings from 12 to 9 percent. Currently, Nevada has 6,600 positive coronavirus cases and 339 related deaths.

The aggressive action to shut down casinos statewide was done to help contain the virus. Gov. Sisolak and his team of experts assured Nevadans that it was an effective move and one that prevented the number of cases in Nevada from reaching the tens of thousands.

While the downward trajectory of the daily rate of positive cases looks promising, Sisolak says it’s still possible that negative data could cause the state to roll back some of the re-openings. And, there’s still no definitive date as to when casinos can reopen.

Memorial Day Weekend Reopening Unlikely

Around 35 properties started accepting reservations for Memorial Day Weekend, including Treasure Island and Wynn Resorts. With past trends, the holiday would be an ideal time for Las Vegas to return, especially with the large percentage of visitors that come into town from Southern California.

Should rooms book up for the Memorial Day holiday weekend and casinos still aren’t given the green light to reopen, the properties will likely inform guests of the cancellations and issue any refunds that are due.

Restaurants in Casinos Allowed to Operate

In an unexpected twist, the announcement of Phase 1 restaurant re-openings also means that restaurants in casinos are allowed to reopen, too. That might seem off-putting, given the fact that casinos are still closed.

But while restaurants in casinos are allowed to reopen, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will. Allowing restaurants in casinos to reopen while casinos are to remain closed poses many logistical and economic challenges.

According to experts, it just might not be the smartest move for many casino operators. Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor of strategic management at UNLV, says reopening restaurants in casinos that aren’t set up for street access could pose a big challenge in keeping people from roaming inside of hotel-casinos that are closed to the public.

However, Belarmino says some Strip casinos have the type of set up that could make this work, given the current restrictions.

Restaurants and other industry sectors that were allowed to reopen weren’t really given any advance notice, so even though they can technically open right now, it will take some time figuring out how to make their operations work again amid reopening during the pandemic.

According to the Governor, the state Gaming Control Board’s decision to allow restaurants to reopen in gaming establishments was mainly done to support rural communities in Nevada whose only option for restaurant establishments exist within gaming establishments.

Testing Ramps Up in Nevada

With the data of testing instrumental in determining how Nevada moves throughout its phased reopening plan, it was important for Sisolak to get testing ramped up throughout the state.

Across the state, almost 2,500 people are being tested for coronavirus daily. The Orleans recently set up a drive-thru testing site on the first floor of its parking garage for all comers to get tested. A few Walmart locations across the valley have also begun offering COVID-19 testing in its parking lots as well.

According to health officials, there have been 85,791 tests conducted on 72,146 people.

Just last week, the state conducted 17,000 coronavirus tests, averaging out to a daily total of close to 2,500 a day. Now, Sisolak says, the state has the testing capabilities to meet the goal it set of performing 4,000 tests a day.

Sisolak argued that people have to go and get tested, and is strongly encouraging them to do so, especially with the testing capacity increased.

The Virus is Still Here, Nevadans Must Continue to Take It Seriously

Governor Sisolak continues to praise those Nevadans who are taking social distancing guidelines seriously, saying that they’ve saved lives by doing so. He also commented on reopened businesses that are not acting in compliance with the CDC’s guidelines of social distancing.

“Unfortunately, their negligence puts Nevadans at risk, so there will be repercussions as a result of that,” Sisolak said. “We must all continue to take this virus seriously. We know this virus is not gone. We’ve made progress, but the virus is here.”

Stay Tuned

For the Nevada Governor, it seems the old adage “Slow and steady wins the race” will be the pace Nevada needs to follow if it wants to reopen safely and successfully.

We know that it’s not just Nevadans who are eager for the state to open back up, but visitors who will be coming from out of town.

When do you think casinos will reopen in Las Vegas? Do you agree with Governor Sisolak’s measured approach? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Be sure to check back for more coronavirus coverage, and as always, stay safe until we meet again!

Expect Lower Room Rates and Less Crowds When Las Vegas Reopens

Las Vegas StripFor the first time ever, Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps, was forced into a two-month slumber because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

And Las Vegas Boulevard has never been quieter, minus the handful of locals recreationally roaming around, taking in the sight of an empty Strip that they might never see again if all things go well with the trajectory of the outbreak.

Now, the entertainment capital is ready to get back to business. In fact, around 35 properties are already accepting Memorial Day weekend reservations beginning May 22, including Treasure Island, Wynn Resorts, and the Sahara.

It’s no secret that casino operators are eager to welcome guests back to their casino floors, but this, of course, will still depend on the reopening announcement from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak.

No matter what date Las Vegas actually reopens on, one thing is clear: It’s not going to look like the same Vegas we all know and love, at least for a while.

There are a lot of safety protocols going into place to keep visitors and staff safe, and there aren’t going to be crowds and crowds of tourists walking about Las Vegas Boulevard and the casino floors like we’re used to.

A Different Vegas Experience for Awhile

Las Vegas saw around 42.5 million visitors in 2019. But, for a city that’s built on tourism, one of the industries that has hands down been impacted the most by COVID-19, reopening during a pandemic is sure to cause those numbers to drop.

“I would say that it’s going to be quite a diminished experience for the first few weeks, if not several weeks going into July,” said Anthony Curtis, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor.

The normal Vegas experience sees groups of people huddled together constantly, enjoying different channels of entertainment the city has to offer.

Whether that’s gathering at the crap tables, getting rowdy watching sports at the sportsbook, walking shoulder-to-shoulder on the Strip, enjoying food in a crowded, swanky Vegas restaurant, filling packed arenas, or having fun in close quarters at the various bars, nightclubs, and resort pools around town.

Social distancing is going to change that experience, but it’s going to be vital in how successfully casinos reopen, and in keeping guests and staff safe.

Las Vegas Under Social Distancing Could Be a Good Thing

The crowds and the hustle and bustle of the Strip are no doubt apart of the Vegas appeal, but fewer crowds could be a good thing for those who want to experience Las Vegas and not have to fight to get around or do things.

Social distancing will also change occupancy levels at many of the Strip’s resorts. This is being done so that people can properly adhere to the CDC’s guideline of keeping six feet of space between individuals, and so that overcrowding isn’t an issue for those eager to return to Las Vegas.

MGM Resort’s acting CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, announced this week that the company’s two properties that are set to reopen first, the Bellagio and New-York New-York, will operate at 25% capacity.

Casino operators who are limiting their capacity levels should give those who are either returning to Las Vegas or coming for the first time, the peace of mind knowing that it’s creating a more controlled and safe environment for guests to enjoy.

With the virus still present, it’s crucial that casinos take these steps to welcome guests back to an enjoyable environment, but more importantly, an environment where all scenarios have been considered.

Expect Lowered Room Rates

With Vegas reopening during the outbreak, casino operators are using low prices in an effort to attract visitors.

“I’m absolutely certain that we’re going to see some really tremendous rates,” Curtis said.

Low prices seem like just the ticket in getting guests to return, especially during a time when the economy has been rocked in ways never seen before. If someone is going to take a vacation right now, the affordability of it must be enough to justify bigger worries like getting sick or earning income.

Here’s a look at nightly, weekly room rates for properties accepting reservations for June 1:

  • Bellagio: $139
  • Caesars Palace: $99
  • Cosmopolitan: $160
  • New York-New York: $29
  • Sahara: $76
  • Treasure Island: $98
  • Wynn: $169

Note: These rates do not include taxes or resort fees, and don’t reflect weekend rates.

Safe Vegas is Still Vegas

Although Las Vegas isn’t going to look the same when it returns, a safe Vegas is still Vegas nonetheless.

And with nearly everyone feeling the collective impact of the coronavirus pandemic, people have grown accustomed to what the “new normal” of life looks like right now, and shouldn’t expect Las Vegas to not follow those rules, too.

In fact, people are still looking to Las Vegas to provide an escape now more than ever, and COVID-19 hasn’t changed that. We’re sure that once the city reopens, it will serve up just as much fun and excitement that makes people from all over the world fly in just to experience it.

Just think of it like Las Vegas, with a mask on. If you’re thinking of visiting Las Vegas, now may be an opportune time to do so with the drastically lowered room rates and smaller crowds!

MGM Resorts to Reopen Vegas Properties at 25% Capacity to Start

Bellagio in Las VegasMGM Resorts International are preparing to reopen once the COVID-19 shutdown is lifted, in what could possibly the next few weeks here, and they’ve got a game plan to start.

In the company’s first-quarter earnings call, acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the chain would only operate two of its 10 Strip properties initially, those properties being the Bellagio and New-York New-York, as they accommodate different traveler’s budget.

This week, Hornbuckle said that those two properties that will get to open up will operate only at 25 percent capacity at first. In an interview with the Today Show, Hornbuckle expressed his confidence in operating at capped capacity levels, alongside their newly developed health and safety measures that were also revealed this week, called the “Seven-Point Safety Plan”.

He said MGM Resorts is making a way toward setting up a “very, safe, controlled environment.” Further arguing that Vegas done safely in the short term is still “Vegas.”

That’s a good argument point, considering that things haven’t been normal since the whole pandemic started over two months ago. We’re all just figuring out how to adjust accordingly until we can get our footing back.

MGM’s Reopening Safety Plan

MGM’s new Seven-Point Safely Plan has thoughtfully outlined the various procedures and protocols the company will put into place upon reopening.

The seven points of safety include employee temperature screenings, employees to wear masks at all times on the property, requiring social distancing guidelines to be followed among staff and guests, hand washing and increased hand-sanitizing stations throughout high-traffic areas on the property, monitoring and optimizing the performance of HVAC systems on-site, specific incident response protocols, and digital innovations in providing contactless solutions for guests.

‘Three Buckets of Guests’ Coming to Las Vegas

In the same Today Show interview, Hornbuckle talked about the “three buckets of guests” that he envisions coming to Las Vegas once the city reopens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In that first bucket are guests who he believes will return straight out of the gate, irrespective of health concerns. This group is ready to get back to the Las Vegas they know, and are likely planning out their trip for when Strip casinos reopen in the coming weeks.

The second buckets of visitors are looking to be convinced that the city is safe enough before they come back, and this is what MGM hopes releasing their Seven-Point Safety Plan will accomplish for those with big safety concerns.

And then Hornbuckle says is the last bucket of people who will sit back and see how the initial reopening plays out before they make any moves to return to Las Vegas.

Confidence in Air Travel Likely to Boost Las Vegas Visitation

For the large percentage of Las Vegas visitors who need to travel via plane to make it into the entertainment destination, confidence in air travel will be essential and the first step in making sure that those specific types of visitors can return.

Unlike visitors from Southern California and the other surrounding states, where Vegas isn’t a hop skip jump away by vehicle, airlines will need to do their part in developing their own set of health and safety protocols to ease passengers’ concerns.

Frontier Airlines President and CEO, Barry Biffle, is doing just that. Biffle touched down into Las Vegas this Monday to meet with resort and travel partners to figure out the best way to collaborate in bringing much-needed visitation back to Vegas.

Biffle argued that if airlines can’t help passengers feel safe on their journey to Las Vegas, that they won’t make it onto the plane, let alone the city. To help give passengers confidence in air travel, the carrier announced their new safety protocols.

Their layered approach includes requiring flight staff and passengers to wear face coverings, using HEPA filtration systems, a “more room” seating option that will allow passengers to keep the middle seat of their row free, adding the future thermal testing of passengers and flight staff beginning June.

Other Casinos That Are Reopening Are Taking a Limited Capacity Approach, Too

The gaming industry is definitely taking note of how other casinos are handling the reopening their properties, and it looks like a limited-capacity reopening might be something of the norm as we see more and more casinos begin to open back up.

For example, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said that the state’s three casinos will be able to reopen next Monday, May 17, at one-third of their capacity.

Casino executives in The Natural State believe that with the pent-up demand for people to return to casinos, they could see people lining outside of properties, waiting for their turn to get in on some play.

And today, some casinos in Oklahoma have even opened up. Of course, strict rules have come attached to the reopening. Those rules include limited capacity in the same fashion as Arkansas casinos, limited occupancy to one-third of normal standards.

Hours of operation have also been reduced from 24-hours a day to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. to start. Guests are also required to wear a mask, with the Thunderbird casino in Norman providing complimentary masks to guests for the first week of reopening, and the thermal screening of guests upon entering the property.

Stay Tuned

We’re glad to see that casino operators are taking the necessary precautions to ensure that their properties are safe enough for guests to return to and enjoy amid the pandemic.

What do you think of MGM’s approach to cap their property capacity initially? And how long do you think reduced capacity will last on the Las Vegas Strip?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Weigh in on casinos reopening in the comments below, and as always, stay safe and healthy out there!

Treasure Island Announces Tentative Reopening Date and Safety Protocols

Treasure Island Casino-Hotel in Las VegasWith Las Vegas hopeful for reopening soon, possibly within the new few weeks even if the Nevada Gaming Control Board says “go,” casino operators are starting to prepare in welcoming guests and staff back in their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasure Island is the latest to announce their health and safety guidelines for reopening, as well as a tentative reopening date. As of Tuesday, the property started taking reservations for arrivals beginning next Friday, May 22, Memorial Day Weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend has historically been a popular time for visitors to hit the Las Vegas Strip, and the city sees much of its visitation for the holiday weekend coming from Southern California.

This is a good thing, with those visitors being able to drive up to Las Vegas and not have to worry about taking air travel. Wynn Resorts is also on the same page as Treasure Island, as they started taking reservations for Memorial Day Weekend last week.

This projected reopening date is, of course, subject to change as management continues to monitor the coronavirus situation in Clark County and await guidance for governing authorities.

Health and Safety Reopening Policies

Treasure Island advised that their company is first and foremost focused on prioritizing the health and safety of its guests and staff members. The company is continuing to monitor guidelines from the CDC, Nevada Gaming Board, federal, state, and local government mandates, and public health advancements in developing and updating their protocols and procedures.

Here’s a look into Treasure Island’s newly developed safety protocols, which is subject to change as the aforementioned agencies evolve.

Guest Policy and Procedures

Social Distancing Guidelines

Guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing, keeping six feet of space between other groups of people in all public areas on the property. Elevators will almost be limited to no more than four riders at a time.

Should guests not follow social distancing guidelines, TI Security can be contacted and will be deployed immediately to advise guests of the social distancing rules.

Locations on the property that receive frequent face-to-face interactions, such as the front desk and cashier stations, will have plexiglass shields installed for added protection.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The front desk will have single-use face masks available for guests, and they will be made available at other locations on the property as well.

Safe Casino Gaming

Treasure Island will follow specific guidance on casino gaming and hotel operations as given by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Confirmed Room Sanitization

All rooms will receive thorough daily cleanings and sanitization. Upon completion, a sign will be placed on the room door or in the room confirming the cleaning protocols have been met.

Hand Washing

All Treasure Island public restrooms include touch-free faucets, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, and hand dryers. The company is encouraging guests to follow the CDC’s guidelines on proper handwashing: Washing hands for a minimum of twenty seconds using soap and warm water.

Hand Sanitizers

High-traffic areas of the property will get touch-free hand sanitizer dispensers placed in them. Personal hand sanitizers will also be made available to guests in various locations on the property.

Touchless Environment

TI has made efforts to remove or eliminate frequent touch and contact points, swapping them out with hands-free or automated opening devices, such as doors, offering alternative payment methods, and replacing room amenities with one-time use items.

Property Signage

Signage will be posted throughout the property reminding guests on maintaining proper hygiene, such as instructions on handwashing, advising them to avoid touching their faces, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing and disposing of masks and gloves properly, and social distancing guidelines. Floor markers will also be put in place in guest queuing areas, like check-in lines.

Employee Policy and Procedures

Similar to the guest health and safety guidelines, TI has created specific health and safety protocols for employees to follow upon returning to the property.

Security Temperature Screenings

All employees will receive a non-invasive temperature scan at the start of every shift. Should their temperature show 100.4 degrees or more, they will not have access granted onto the property, and will be asked to stay home until they are well and able to return to work.

TI Security will then notify the employee’s manager and management will be expected to notify those who were in immediate contact with the employee.

Stay-At-Home If Sick

TI employees who do not feel well are required to stay at home until they are well enough to return. Employees are also being asked to contact a manager and notify them of coworkers who are exhibiting any COVID-19-related symptoms, such as a cough or shortness of breath. Employees exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should not return to work until permitted under CDC guidelines.

Expanded Training

Upon returning to work, all employees will receive thorough COVID-19 training and prevention measures based upon literature released by the CDC and Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD). Employees who are in frequent guest contact will receive additional COVID-19 training.

Handwashing and Hand Sanitizers

Based on CDC guidelines, employees will be instructed to wash and/or sanitize their hands every hour, and/or upon using the restroom, touching their face, sneezing, blowing their nose, handling luggage, smoking, eating or drinking, entering or exiting the property, before starting their shift and before going on break.

Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at employee entrances, and time clock locations.

Social Distancing Policy

Employees will be instructed to follow social distancing guidelines by keeping six feet of space between themselves and other employees and guests. Social distancing guidelines are expected to be practice in employee back-of-house areas as well, including dining room, break room, uniform control room, employee services window, and other high-density areas throughout the property.

PPE

TI employees must wear a face mask at all times when on the property. Certain employees will receive additional appropriate personal protective equipment based on job duties, such as housekeeping and food and beverage employees. TI staff will also receive training on how to wear and dispose of PPE.

Employee Signage

Employee signage will be similar to guest signage advising on how to maintain proper hygiene, including handwashing instructions, reminders of not to touch your face, to cover coughs and sneezes, how to wear and dispose of PPE, and how to identify COVID-19 associated symptoms in co-workers or guests.

Personal Protection

TI employees are being asked to avoid touching their face, including eyes, nose, and mouth, to proper cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and to properly discard that tissue afterward.

Cleaning Procedures and Protocols

High-traffic areas and frequently contacted items will receive frequent cleaning and sanitizing daily. This includes slot machines and chairs, gaming tables and gaming chairs, front desk counters, escalator handrails, and elevator buttons, casino Player’s Club booth and kiosks, door handles, ATMs, loading docks, employee entrances, employee dining room, employee restrooms, heart-of-house offices, employee service windows and training areas.

Guest rooms and suites will also receive special attention cleaning and sanitation to high touch areas, including TV remote controls, door handles, furniture knobs, water faucet handles, toilet seat handles, nightstands, light switches, telephones, alarm clocks, and any other high-touch item.

Stay Tuned

It’s clear that Treasure Island has put a lot of thought and expert guidelines into the development of their health and safety reopening protocols.

Hopefully, this will give guests and staff peace of mind knowing that all safety scenarios are being considered and thorough measures are being put into place to create the safety environment for both guests and staff.

What do you think about Treasure Island’s newly developed safety protocols? Would you feel confident returning once casinos reopen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Frontier CEO Plans to Promote Visitation Back to Las Vegas Amid Casino Reopenings

Frontier Airlines Aircraft Taking OffOn Monday, Frontier Airlines President and CEO Barry Biffle dropped into Las Vegas to meet with resort and travel partners. The goal? Figuring out the best way that the airline, which is McCarran International Airport’s fifth-largest carrier, can help bring in visitation once the Gaming Control Board approves the reopening of casinos.

Biffle argues that if the airline can’t keep passengers safe, they won’t be able to get those passengers to Las Vegas. And if they can’t get tourists into Las Vegas, unemployment is going to happen for a long time. Frontier is trying to do its part to reignite the economy.

Making sure passengers have confidence in air travel again will be instrumental in getting them back on board. Frontier plans to do this by taking a layered approach to new safety protocols amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Frontier’s Safety Protocols

Those protocols begin with HEPA filtration systems and ramping up specific cleaning and sanitation measures. HEPA, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air, is a mechanical air filter that works by trapping harmful particles in the air, such as pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and dust mites in a fine mesh filter.

These filters are highly effective and are able to trap 99.97 percent of harmful particles. This makes this type of filter the ideal choice in helping to battle the airborne virus, especially with a given number of passengers on a plane for hours at a time.

The Denver-based airline was also the second airline carrier, following budget carrier JetBlue’s announcement, to require passengers to wear mandatory masks starting May 8. Flight crews were required to wear face coverings since April 13.

Beginning June 1, the company also plans to add thermal testing of passengers and customers. It’s McCarran Airport’s first carrier to announce the temperature requirement. Anyone who is found to have a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to fly, which includes passengers and flight staff.

“This layered approach, coupled with the temperature measurement we’re going to do in a few weeks, we believe is what people need to feel safe,” Biffle said.

Biffle thinks the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airports should conduct the temperature checks, with them preferably done at the curb although he admitted that it would be difficult to catch all passengers at the entrance. Biffle does guarantee one thing though, and that’s that no one aboard their aircraft will have a fever.

Frontier’s “More Room” Seating Option

As if those protocols were not enough, for flights departing May 8 through August 31, Frontier’s is even offering a “More Room” seating option.

That option will allow passengers on Frontier Airlines flights to pay an extra fee in order to keep the middle seat of their row unoccupied during the flight, which aligns most closely with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines of staying six feet apart from other people.

Each flight will have 18 “More Room” seats available. The cost for the seating option will be $39 per passenger.

Frontier joins a list of other airlines who started offering similar accommodations amid the pandemic, including Delta Airlines, who began blocking seats off back in April at no cost to passengers, and American Airlines who are leaving 50 percent of their middle seats empty in the main cabin of their airlines, unless it’s necessary to fill those seats

Frontier’s Passenger Volume Decreases by 11 Percent in March 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic rocking the world, and particularly the air travel industry, it’s no surprise that many airlines saw a decrease in passenger volume. Frontier’s passenger volume, for one, saw an 11 percent decrease in March 2020 when compared with passenger volume from March 2019.

The carrier expects to see an even bigger decrease for their April 2020 numbers once the Clark County Department of Aviation reveals that data this month.

Frontier Receives Federal Payroll Support

To help the airline support its employees with air travel taking the massive hit that it has, Frontier received a hefty $200 million in federal payroll support. The company also applied for up to $500 million in federal loans, with a decision on that still pending.

According to Biffle, $170 million of that amount is a grant that would cover nearly half of the airline’s payroll costs for at least six months. This, in turn, helped the government, since they didn’t have to shell out unemployment in the event that Frontier laid off a large number of its staff.

Bringing Business Back to the Skies

Biffle is choosing to think optimistically and in the near future. He says the airline’s ultimate goal right now is creating the safest flying environment so that business can return to the nation’s skies.

Biffle understands how deeply air travel is tied to a healthy economy, especially the Las Vegas economy. If Frontier can safely get passengers to touch down in McCarran Airport, that’s the first major step. The rest lies in the hands of the casino operators to ensure that their properties are safe for these tourists to return to.

If Frontier and Las Vegas can work together on that front, it’ll be good news for the economy as a whole.

Casino Operators are Preparing Meticulously for Reopening

Las Vegas casinos, which have been shut down for over two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

With reopening possibly a few weeks away, casino operators are working hard to ensure that their properties will be to the highest level of cleanliness and safety for tourists to return to. They’re doing this by introducing new and advanced levels of safety protocols.

Those protocols, which have been revealed by some major casino operators already, most recently MGM Resorts, include thermal screenings of guests and staff at every casino entrance, requirement all staff members to wear masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment, rearranging casino floors to support social distancing, staff training on COVID-19 and more.

Stay Tuned

Things in Las Vegas are beginning to move more quickly now. Currently, the state is in Phase 1 of its reopening plan, which allows for retail stores, restaurants, barbershops, hair, and nail salons to resume operations under 50 percent occupancy at each facility.

Phase 1 came sooner than the state expected, predicting a May 15 benchmark to hit the requirement outlined in the plan. Casinos are expected to reopen under Phase 3 or 4 or Gov. Sisolak’s detailed plan, should coronavirus cases and hospitalizations show no spike in the upcoming weeks.

It’s clear that air travel and Las Vegas visitation will be closely linked, so we’re glad to see Frontier’s CEO taking the initiative to make passengers feel as safe and as comfortable as they possibly can in returning to Las Vegas amid the COVID-19 outbreak still in the air.

We hope that tourism will pick back up once Las Vegas reopens, although it will likely take some time for volume to return its pre-coronavirus normal levels.

Do you think passengers will feel safe returning to the skies? Stay tuned for all developments regarding the coronavirus situation in Las Vegas.

Boyd Gaming May Only Reopen 7 of its 10 Properties Once Shutdown Ends

California Hotel Las VegasBoyd Gaming Corporation, who owns 10 properties across the Las Vegas valley and 29 properties nationwide, may not be reopening its three downtown properties right away once Governor Sisolak lifts the shutdown order on casinos in Nevada.

Since downtown Las Vegas relies heavily on tourism, Boyd’s three down properties, California Hotel, Main Street Station, and the Fremont Hotel, may most likely have to wait until tourism starts to ramp back up downtown before they can open their doors to the public again.

Boyd’s California Hotel, for one, relies heavily on Hawaiian tourists for business. Las Vegas is also referred to as the “Ninth Island” for many who either visit from the state or have come to make Las Vegas their home. California Hotel gears its marketing specifically toward its Hawaiian crowds, with specific cultural events and dining options.

Boyd Properties Rely a Large Percentage of Business on Local Retirees

Just a couple of weeks ago, Boyd Gaming’s CEO Keith Smith said he believed that local casinos could be the driving force behind Las Vegas’ rebound.

According to Smith, the last time Las Vegas experienced an economic downfall was the recession period between 2008-2009, and what that situation proved was that the Strip didn’t refuel the locals market.

Although Strip properties were able to rebound quicker during the 2008 financial crisis, Boyd Gaming Corp. doesn’t see the same thing happening with the pandemic causing more worries to arise in travelers.

With confidence in air travel wary amid the coronavirus pandemic, the local market could very well prove to be Las Vegas’ saving grace once casinos reopen soon.

Boyd’s properties outside of downtown Las Vegas, including The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Aliante Casino, Eastside Cannery, Cannery, and Sam’s Town, rely heavily on local retirees for their business.

“Those retirees didn’t have a job before this started, don’t have a job now. They still have their income,” Smith pointed out.

Local Gamblers Will Want to Return Once Casinos Reopen

With many Las Vegas residents having cabin fever due to stay-at-home orders, especially retirees without work, it’s predicted that many will want to drive down to their nearest local casino once they’ve been given the green light to reopen.

The local market will be vital in Las Vegas’ economic rebound, as it’s unsure how the Strip properties will do, especially since their business relies heavily on out-of-state and international visitors.

Boyd properties, on the other hand, doesn’t see much visitation from international guests.

Josh Hirsberg, Boyd’s executive vice president and CFO, pointed out that people aren’t going to want to travel. He believes that most people are just waiting to get back to “normal life,” or what they considered to be normal before the coronavirus hit.

Hirsberg said that for the locals market, that returning to normal can happen “pretty quickly” with Boyd’s properties.

Boyd Gaming Experiences 18% Revenue Drop in First Quarter

It’s no surprise that Boyd Gaming and other casino operating companies have experienced big revenue drops in the first quarter due to the pandemic.

According to preliminary results, Boyd Gaming’s revenue dropped 18 percent to $680.5 million for 2020’s first quarter.

Even with the revenue drop, CEO Keith Smith believes the company is in a good position to sustain itself throughout the shutdown. The company even plans to come out on the other side “more efficient” and “operationally-focused.”

In an effort to save on payroll costs, Boyd furloughed many of their team members. A common move for casino properties in Las Vegas to combat the economic downfall caused by the closures. Company executives are also expected to see “significant salary reductions.”

Stay Tuned

It will definitely be interesting to see what happens when casinos reopen in Las Vegas. In the same fashion as Boyd Gaming, casino operators on the Strip are also planning on not reopening all of their properties at once, such as Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts.

Whether downtown Las Vegas will take a while to rebound or not is something we’ll have to wait and see about.

Do you think tourism will return once casinos reopen in Las Vegas? Share your thoughts with us below!

MGM Resorts International Unveils Reopening Plan

MGM Grand in Las VegasIt won’t be too long until casinos, which have been closed nationwide for a little over two months, will begin opening up again. But with casino re-openings coming as the COVID-19 outbreak is still active and moving, it’s going to require things to look a lot different at the casinos for a while.

To prepare for reopening day amid the coronavirus pandemic, MGM Resorts International has recently released a report outlining their newly developed health and safety protocols the company plans to implement upon reopening their domestic properties.

MGM Resorts Acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle says the company developed the new plan by putting the health and safety at the center.

“Our ‘Seven-Point Safety Plan’ is the result of months of consultations with public health experts and outlines our comprehensive approach to welcoming guests back safely,” Hornbuckle said.

MGM Resorts’ Multi-Step Safety Plan

In MGM’s new report, it outlines their multi-step safety plan known as the “Seven-Point Safety Plan.” The plan was designed through the help of medical and scientific experts, one expert being Dr. Shannon Magari, ScD, MPH, MS at the helm.

The safety plan was created in a way to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, in a way that would protect both guests and employees alike. It was also developed in a way to rapidly respond to any potential new cases.

These particular safety procedures and protocols are two-fold. They work to satisfy the high-end customer service experience that MGM hotel guests have come to expect from the brand while being flexible and effective enough to adapt to the ever-changing climate of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan will be implemented throughout MGM’s properties nationwide, with slight variances based on local jurisdictions.

Here’s what the Seven-Point Safety Plan will entail:

  1. Screening, Temperature Checks, and Employee Training

All employees are to be screened and have their temperature checked before entering property grounds.

  1. Mandatory Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All MGM Resorts employees will be provided with personal protective equipment specific to job roles and will be required to wear a mask at all times. While guests will not be required to wear masks to be on the casino floors, it will be strongly encouraged.

  1. Physical Distancing

MGM Resorts will require social distancing guidelines to be assumed between all staff and guests whenever possible. Foot markers and plexiglass barriers will be installed as a physical reminder for everyone.

  1. Hand Washing and Enhanced Sanitation

Increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces and areas will be implemented, as well as hand washing and hand-sanitizing stations located in high-traffic areas on the properties.

  1. Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Controls and Air Quality

MGM Resorts will continue to monitor and optimize the performance of HVAC systems at all properties to reduce the risk of airborne virus transmission.

  1. Incident Response Protocols

In the event of a staff member or guest testing positive for COVID-19, properties are equipped with a set of incident protocols to handle the exposed areas and notify those who were in close contact with the individual of their diagnosis. Additional medical and security staff will also be available at each property.

  1. Digital Innovations

Contactless check-in digital innovations will become available, eliminating the need for guests to check in with staff for certain services, such as hotel check-in and dining. Contactless check-in can be done through the MGM Resorts app and dining choice can be made through digital menus.

Stay Tuned

It looks like Strip operators have been developing similar reopening safety protocols, like Venetian’s Clean Initiative, and they seem to be promising in welcoming staff and guests back to a safe environment.

What do you think of MGM’s reopening plan? Will you be visiting one of their properties once they reopen? Weigh in below!

Caesars CEO: Caesars Palace Could Open First Among Las Vegas Properties

Caesars Palace in Las VegasCaesars Entertainment Corporation owns and operates over 50 properties across the world, with 10 of those mega-popular resorts in Las Vegas.

According to Caesars CEO Tony Rodio, the company will reopen its U.S. properties in a series of phases depending on the local response to the coronavirus pandemic in the properties respective cities.

Out of all its properties on the Las Vegas Strip, Rodio said Caesars Palace may be the first to open. The company will monitor the demand as Strip casinos reopen and determine whether or not they will open more properties to meet that demand. Caesars could reopen up to three or four of their Vegas properties at once, including Caesars Palace and possibly a “value property.”

Caesars will make the initial decision to reopen its properties nationwide based on guidance from applicable government agencies or tribal bodies. Based on demand and capacity, the company will then determine how many of its properties to reopen.

This is similar to how MGM Resorts International is planning to reopen its properties in Las Vegas. MGM plans on opening a couple of their 10 Strip properties first, and deciding where to go from there. The Bellagio and New-York New-York will likely open before the rest of the properties.

Caesars CEO Praises Governor for Reopening Approach

As heard in today’s first-quarter earnings call, Rodio showed his support to Gov. Sisolak’s for his phased reopening plan for Nevada, saying that he’s done a “fantastic job.”

Assuming things go well in Phase 1 of the Governor’s multi-faceted reopening plan, Rodio expects some Strip resorts to start welcoming back guests within the next few weeks. He was also surprised that Phase 1 came a week sooner than projected.

“The fact that he decided to open the phase one businesses, I didn’t expect that to happen until later in the month. If all goes well, knock wood, phase one could be about a two-week phase. If there’s not a spike, we could be looking at Strip openings later this month,” Rodio said.

Caesars Reopening Measures

According to a statement Rodio gave ahead of Monday’s earnings call, the company is implementing a series of new protocols that will prioritize the wellbeing of team members, guests, and communities by creating “environments with high standards of sanitization and physical distancing practices.”

Rodio advised that the company is working closely with public health authorities, gaming regulators, and infectious disease specialists in developing and designing their specific action plan.

As part of the reopening measures, Caesars will require all team members to wear a mask while working, with some team members asked to wear gloves, depending on their job role and in conjunction with local guidelines.

Guests won’t be required to wear a mask, but it will be encouraged.

Caesars also plans on providing on-site health screenings for employees, as well as a thorough training on COVID-19 cleaning and sanitization practices once employees return to work.

All Properties Will Implement Social Distancing Practices

Caesars properties nationwide will take social distancing measures seriously across gaming floors.

Their plans for facilitating social distancing guidelines include rearranging table games and slot machine spots. As far as non-gaming offerings, the company said those would reopen in phases with limited capacity. Those non-gaming offerings refer to restaurants and bars and entertainment.

Guest waiting areas will be marked on the floor for social distancing, such as check-in and taxi lines and elevator lobbies. Employee queues areas will also be marked, including break rooms and cafeterias.

Quarterly Call Summary

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Caesars Entertainment Corp missed their quarterly revenue estimates this Monday, but it comes as no surprise as its properties have been shuttered nationwide.

The company explained that nearly all of its casinos worldwide have been shut down since March 17 because of the outbreak, resulting in an estimated daily cash burn of $9.3 million. The company has over $2.6 billion in liquidity as of March 31.

According to Rodio, the company has taken aggressive steps to strengthen its financial position. One of those aggressive steps was furloughing roughly 90% of its North American workforce.

Stay Tuned

Could Las Vegas visitors get to reenter Caesars Palace within the new few weeks? In measuring the current coronavirus situation in Clark County, that could very well be a reality soon.

Will you be visiting Caesars Palace or another Las Vegas property once it reopens? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to check back for more coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Arkansas Casinos to Reopen May 18 Under Multiple Safety Guidelines

Arkansas State LogoAt a press conference held last Thursday, May 7, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that the state’s three casinos will be able to reopen on May 18 at one-third of their total capacity, with stringent social distancing requirements.

The Arkansas Department of Health was said to have released the exact guidelines for the casinos reopening last Friday, but will likely be released this week ahead of the casinos reopening.

Casino executives seemed excited by the news, which came earlier than many expected in the state. Arkansas’ three casinos which will be able to reopen next Monday are Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Saracen Casino Annex in Pine Bluff.

Reduced Capacity, Cleaning And Safety Guidelines

Visitors to Arkansas’ three casinos post-shutdown can expect cleaning to happen all throughout the day on the gaming floor. This is to ensure that the properties are kept as safe and sanitized as possible, which will allow guests and staff to have greater peace of mind when they’re on-site.

Carlton Saffa, Project Manager for Saracen Casino Annex, provided some insight into the depth of how sanitation will be handled at the property. Saffa says that when gamblers get up from sitting at or using a particular machine, that a staff member will be there shortly to clean up the area behind them, including the seat and machine surfaces.

Saracen will also have reduced operating hours upon reopening, to allow for more thorough cleaning to take place.

All casinos will have to operate at one-third of the rated capacity of their respective buildings. Saffa says that if Saracen reached that capacity, that “folks will have to wait to come in.”

As far as safety guidelines go, the casinos will likely enforce face coverings for staff members, temperature checks for workers, social distancing guidelines, and plexiglass barriers on the gaming floor.

Some Arkansas Residents Feel It’s Too Soon to Reopen Casinos

While casino executives are eager to get business rolling again, some Arkansas residents, and even some government officials, feel the reopening date is coming too soon and may come at a cost.

West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon for one, would prefer to wait to reopen the city until June 1.

Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Nate Smith expressed his concerns over casinos opening last month, saying that particularly high-risk since they’re indoors with a significant amount of people in small space, and touching different surfaces.

“I think it’s going to spread around and we’re going to have more outbreaks and it’s just going to be more of a worst-case scenario. We’re just asking for it,” said Jeffrey Wilburn, a resident of West Memphis, Arkansas.

As of Sunday, Arkansas has 4,012 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with around 91 related deaths.

How Arkansas Has Been Affected by COVID-19

According to Gov. Hutchinson, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected “every industry sector” in Arkansas, from grocery stores and small businesses to hospitals and restaurants. Hutchinson stressed the importance of supporting and protecting each industry until the threat of the virus is gone.

State to Reopen Large Venues on May 18, Too

As well as reopening casinos, Gov. Hutchinson announced that large venue areas, such as arenas, stadiums, moving theaters, and bowling alleys, will also be allowed to reopen on May 18, however facilities must not allow more than 50 people to be inside at once.

Stay Tuned

Arkansas seems to be one of the first states to have a definitive reopening date for its casinos. Do you think it’s the right time to reopen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and be sure to check back for more coronavirus casino coverage.

What the Future of Las Vegas Might Look Like in a COVID-19 World

Welcome to Las Vegas SignIt’s been over seven weeks since Las Vegas was effectively shut down per the state’s mandated casino closure order, and the bustling city has never been so quiet.

Nevada Governor Sisolak had casinos across the Las Vegas Strip and the entire state closed mid-March, and it was the reason for the major decline in visitors compared to the same time last year. In March 2019, Las Vegas saw over 3.6 million visitors. This March saw more than half of that number drop, with 1.5 million visitors.

But reduced visitation wasn’t the only blow to the city; its entire industry was crippled. Nevada’s economy has been the most impacted throughout the country, and it’s no wonder why. A city built on tourism, hospitality, and more recently, sports, was sure to lose its ground when the coronavirus closures pulled the rug up from under the city.

With nearly 40% of Southern Nevada’s workforce in the hospitality and leisure sector, it resulted in a tidal wave of lost jobs, from layoffs to furloughs. Since the beginning of March, almost 419,000 Nevadans have filed for unemployment.

As of now, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has set no concrete date for casinos, however, guidelines for reopening were approved last Thursday, which is a big step forward. Governor Sisolak also announced last Thursday that Nevada was entering into Phase 1 of its reopening plan.

Phase 1 kicked off May 9 and allowed for retail businesses, restaurants, barbershops, hair and nail salons to open their doors to 50 percent of their allowed capacities, per the local fire code. Other coronavirus measures were advised, such as ensuring staff and visitors wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

How Might Reopening During the Pandemic Affect Las Vegas?

With casinos still closed and the state only being in Phase 1 for three days, it’s hard to predict what a complete reopening for Las Vegas will look like right now. So far, casinos nationwide are still shut down, so there’s been no immediate example to look on and learn from just yet.

The closest model that casino operators have to follow was the reopening of casinos in Macau, China in late February. Through that example, many Las Vegas properties have been taking note of which safety protocols to adopt and implement.

Those protocols include rearranging casino floors to support social distancing, enforcing that staff, and guests, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks and performing noninvasive temperature checks on every entrant to the casino property.

Much of Las Vegas’ ability to rebound post-shutdown will depend on casino operators ensuring that their properties are a safe space to return to, for both staff and guests, and the confidence of guests not only traveling to Las Vegas but feeling comfortable being in a tourist city where people will be all abound.

Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming, believes the valley’s local casinos will be instrumental for pulling the city back up by its bootstraps. With the local casinos not seeing many international visitors, and seeing guests who are able to drive to visit the properties versus flying to get there, it seems like a win-win situation for wary gamblers who are ready to return to live casinos.

Industry Workers Worry About Their Future in Las Vegas

Many industry workers who directly lost jobs because of the casino closures say they can’t afford to wait and see if they’ll get their jobs back and have begun looking into alternative career opportunities to support themselves.

One party dancer at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, Nicolette Pantaleo, told the Los Angeles Times that she “doesn’t have the desire to dance anymore.”

After finding success as a professional dancer in Las Vegas for the past 11 years, Pantaleo says she’s started investing in other career opportunities as she’s not sure whether she still has a future doing her line of work in Vegas. She’s taken up online financial classes and voice-over lessons during the shutdown with aims of finding work as an investment banker or narration artist.

Unfortunately, not all affected industry workers have been able to think about other options for future work as they’ve been fighting just to get unemployment benefits in order to survive the shutdown.

One furloughed baccarat dealer who works at a Strip property, Keith Wade, says he has received his unemployment money since mid-March, saying that he goes to bed thinking about it and wakes up thinking about it, too.

Experts Don’t Expect Casinos to Open All at Once

While Strip properties are hopeful for a mid-May to early June reopening date, they don’t think all casinos will be opening at once.

In fact, mega casino operators like MGM Resorts International plans on opening just a couple of their 10 Strip properties, with plans to open The Bellagio and New York-New York to accommodate different traveler’s budgets.

Caesars Entertainment, who also operate 10 properties on the Las Vegas Strip, will likely follow in the same pattern of opening only a couple of their properties at first and seeing how that goes before they reopen the rest. It seems to be the smartest, safest move.

Wynn Resorts on the other hand, who only own two Las Vegas casino-hotels, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, recently said they’ll likely open their two Strip properties at the same time. The company also announced that they would continue providing full-pay to all salaried, hourly, and part-time employees through May 31.

Some Locals Are Enjoying the Slower Pace and Time Off

Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps, but with the coronavirus pandemic, it was finally forced to rest. And some locals are enjoying the slower pace of an empty Strip and not going into work.

The Las Vegas Strip is normally filled with tourists from all over the country and world, but during the shutdown, it’s positively been local territory.

If you were to walk down the Strip this afternoon, you would see native couples taking a stroll, bicyclists, joggers, and skateboarders just taking in the sight of Las Vegas Boulevard without all the tourists.

Like one senior at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada (UNLV) said:

“When is it ever going to be this empty again? Probably never.”

In fact, the emptiness of the Strip is in such a stark contrast to the normal Vegas Strip, often full of excited, rowdy visitors, that even a family of ducks were seen walking in the middle of the road in front of the Venetian a few weeks ago.

If you’re a Las Vegas local and haven’t had a chance to experience a lulled Las Vegas Boulevard, now would be the time before things start opening back up.

Stay Tuned

It’s really hard to say what Vegas might look like in a few weeks with things slowing starting to open back up and casinos on the horizon of beginning their operations again.

We do know that casino operators are working hard to make sure their properties give its guests and staff and ultimate peace of mind upon returning. We’ll just have to wait and see how things go.

We do know one thing: We can’t wait for Las Vegas to return to normal again and that it’s eager to welcome back visitors and give them some joy during these challenging times.

How do you think Las Vegas will do once casinos are given the green light to reopen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Be sure to check back for more coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Trump Hotel in Las Vegas Lays Off 552 Employees

Trump Hotel in Las VegasThe Trump Hotel in Las Vegas, which is partly owned by President Trump, recently released public documents announcing the layoffs of over 500 workers.

In a letter addressed to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation back in April, the property let officials know that they would be letting 552 workers go temporarily amid the coronavirus shutdown.

“Based on the fluid and rapidly evolving nature of this situation, however, at this time we are unable to provide a specific date at which we will be able to recommence regular hotel operations and return affected employees to work,” the letter read.

Trump International Properties Lay Off/Furlough Employees Across the Country

As a direct response to the economic downfall caused by the COVID-19 casino closures, Trump International either laid off or furloughed employees across seven different major cities: Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Washington D.C., and Vancouver.

President Trump Okay With Strip Shutdown

While Las Vegas Mayor Goodman had plenty to say about the “total insanity” of the Strip shut down for this prolonged period of time, President Trump has given clear support to Governor Sisolak on the decisions he’s made to keep the Las Vegas Strip on lockdown until medical experts say it’s okay to reopen.

Even though the move caused the President’s own hotel to shut down, Trump believes it was the best solution in fighting the spread of the coronavirus disease.

“They closed a big hotel down in Nevada that I have in Las Vegas. It’s a very severe step he took. I’m OK with it,” Trump said.

Stay Tuned

The Trump Hotel joins a growing list of casino-hotels in Las Vegas who have laid off or furloughed many of their workers to save on payroll costs amid the shutdown, including MGM Resorts most recently.

The good news? If casinos reopen soon, with casino operators estimating a mid-May or early June reopening date, that would mean that many of those affected employees will hopefully be getting back to work soon.

It’s a waiting game until then. Be sure to check back for more coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas. Stay safe and healthy!

Wynn Resorts to Likely Reopen LV Strip Properties Together

Wynn Las Vegas LogoWynn Resorts, who have their hopeful eye on a Memorial Day Weekend reopening, says they will likely reopen their Strip resorts at the same time once casino restrictions are lifted.

According to Wynn Resorts CEO, Matt Maddox, the reopening of both of its Las Vegas properties will be consciously done at a limited capacity and in response to what looks like a “pent-up demand in the leisure segment.”

“Clearly, we won’t be opening large mass gathering places — nightclubs or convention areas or shows…but we will be opening most of our restaurants, and we’ll be working with our retail partners to try to have an experience that will be safe and fun,” Maddox assured.

Company officials say that the two properties will need to reach an occupancy rate of 50-60% to break even.

Wynn Provides Full-Pay to Employees Through May 31

The company recently announced that they will be extended pay coverage and benefits to all of its salaried, hourly, and part-time employees in Las Vegas through May 31. Wynn Resorts employs nearly 15,000 in Las Vegas.

With the extension of pay coverage, in total, the company will cover a total of 75 days of employee payroll.

Wynn Resorts has also recently partnered with University Medical Center (UMC) in Las Vegas to provide staff with free COVID-19 testing, which will begin next Monday.

Strip Casinos Likely to Have Staggered Re-openings

Even when Strip casinos do get the green light to finally reopen, it’s likely they won’t all reopen at once.

MGM Resorts International executives recently discussed which of their 10 Strip properties they’ll likely reopen first, and believe the Bellagio and New York-New York will be their best bets as they target different traveler’s budgets.

Late May Opening Possible

In the company’s Wednesday earnings call, Maddox said a reopening in May could be a possibility with Nevada’s phases reopening plan. Beginning this Saturday, May 9, Nevada will move into Phase 1 of reopening, which means the reopening of retail stores, restaurants, barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons at 50% occupancy.

Maddox added that casino’s reopening would depend on the state hitting its public health benchmarks as indicated in the Governor’s reopening plan, which was announced April 21.

Stay Tuned

It’s still unsure what the Strip reopening looks like, whether less than 10 properties will open at once to test the waters, or whether they’ll all want to jump back into business. It will really just depend on the state of the outbreak at that time and visitor’s confidence in traveling to Las Vegas.

Be sure to check back for more coronavirus updates in Las Vegas.

Gov. Sisolak Announces NV Entering Phase 1 of Reopening on May 9

Governor Steve SisolakOn Tuesday, April 21, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and his team of experts detailed their plans to reopen Nevada in a series of phases.

A little over two weeks later, the Governor swiftly announced in his Thursday address that Nevada will enter into Phase 1 of its reopening plan this Saturday, May 9. This comes a week ahead of when Phase 1 was planned to go into effect, which was originally May 15.

“All employers and businesses shall require employees to wear face masks, especially those who have face-to-face interaction with the public,” Sisolak said.

He’s also encouraging all people to wear face coverings in public and to stay diligent with their social distancing practices, even in reopened businesses.

The following businesses will be allowed to reopen on Saturday, with certain limitations.

Barbershops, Hair Salons, and Nail Salons

By appointment only, barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons will reopen. No walk-ins should be taken, and waiting areas are to stay closed, however, customers may wait outside of the establishment.

If no partitions are available inside of the establishment, guests are to sit in every other chair, keeping at least six feet of distance from one another.

Cannabis

Medical and recreational cannabis businesses, who have been able to do curbside pickup and delivery operations, may now welcome customers inside of their stores. Per the local fire code, cannabis stores will be limited to 50% of the allowed occupancy.

Drive-In Movie Theaters

As far as entertainment options go, traditional movie theatres will still have to wait. However, drive-in movie theaters will not be open to the public.

Restaurants

All restaurants may now be able to resume dine-in operations, however, no more than 50% occupancy should be filled (excluding bar seating), and tables must be arranged so that they are six feet apart.

Bar areas are to remain closed, along with self-service stations including salad bars and drink stations.

Retail Businesses

Retail businesses across the valley may now allow customers inside, as well as continuing curbside pickup and delivery operations. However, in a repeated trend, businesses will be limited to 50% of the allowed occupancy, per the local fire code.

Open-air malls and car dealerships will also be allowed to open during this time. While showrooms will reopen, only 50% of the allowed occupancy will be allowed per the local fire code.

Test drives may only occur without a dealership staff member inside of the vehicle, and only household members of the interested purchaser.

What Will Remain Closed for Now

Adult entertainment, arcades and other amusement facilities, aquariums, bars, body art and piercing establishments, bowling alleys, casinos and other gaming establishments, gym and fitness facilities, live entertainment venues, miniature golf courses, nightclubs, racetracks, recreation and community centers, spas, sporting event venues, and zoos will all remain closed during Phase 1.

Stay Tuned

The establishments that are allowed to reopen during Phase 1 of Nevada’s reopening plan seem like a promising start. It will also serve as a good indication of how well the state will fare with more people being out and about.

It’s only a matter of time before the state reopens in totality, but of course, it will depend on the trajectory of positive coronavirus cases and if those numbers remain static or decrease.

Be sure to check back for more updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic in the Silver State.

Wynn Resorts Extends Full Pay for LV Employees Through May 31

Wynn Resorts in Las VegasWith the state’s casinos still shutdown, Wynn Resorts announced on Thursday that they will be extending pay for all salaried, hourly and part-time employees in Las Vegas through May 31.

That amounts to 15,000 Wynn employees receiving payroll coverage on a total of 75 days of payroll continuance. The coverage also includes eligible employees’ tip compliance rate/distributed tips.

Employee pay coverage during the shutdown is expected to cost the company close to $250 million in payroll expenses.

The company also announced its partnership with University Medical Center (UMC) that allows free testing for COVID-19 for all Wynn employees. The free testing will begin next Monday.

Wynn Eyes Memorial Day Reopening

Although there has been no confirmed reopening date for casinos, on Thursday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that Phase One of his four-stage reopening plan will begin this Saturday.

Phase One allows for the reopening of restaurants, retail stores, barbershops, and salons at half capacity. It seems like a promising start on the trajectory to hopefully get casinos opened back up by the end of the month.

Wynn Resorts is hoping their Las Vegas properties will reopen before the month’s end, and have even begun accepting reservations for Memorial Day Weekend.

Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver says the properties have historically always had heavy bookings around the holiday day weekend, as it’s a time when many visitors from Southern California drive into Las Vegas to celebrate.

With traveler’s confidence in air travel still wary, a Memorial Day Weekend could prove to be promising, as Southern California visitors, who make up a bulk of the holiday weekend guests, will only have to drive to get it into Vegas.

Wynn Prepares for Reopening

As casinos everywhere prepare to open back up, they’ve started implementing a series of safety protocols to ensure their property is safe for returning staff and guests.

Some coronavirus safety measures that the Wynn has put into place is rearranging its casino floors to support social distancing, such as staggering poker tables, sanitizing table game rails and chairs after every guest-use, and disinfecting hard surfaces that are frequently in use.

Thermal scanners to detect employee or guest’s internal temperatures will also be introduced, as well as placing hand sanitizers at all entry points.

Signage will be placed across the property reminding guests and employees to avoid touching their faces, washing their hands, and proper ways to wear and dispose of masks.

They will also be no more than four guests allowed per elevator.

Stay Tuned

With the Governor’s quick announcement of Nevada entering into Phase One, a benchmark that was originally planned to hit May 15, it may only be a matter of weeks until the announcement of casinos reopening happens.

It’s a waiting game until then, but we’re glad to see that Nevada is gaining some momentum.

The Governor has urged Nevadans to continue practicing social distancing as it’s “the best weapon” in helping to keep the disease at bay.

Be sure to stay tuned for more coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas, keep your social distance, and above all stay safe!

“A Night of Hope” Benefit Special to Raise Funds for Las Vegas Community

One Republic A one-hour benefit broadcast special set called “A Night of Hope” will feature a slew of celebrities joining forces this Saturday night, May 9, to raise funds for the Las Vegas community.

Musical entertainers including Marie Osmond, Carrot Top, Kane Brown, Lee Brice, Lil Jon, and One Republic are among the special guests.

The broadcast special set will premiere Saturday night at 7 p.m. on local network affiliates NBC, Fox, ABC, and CBS, on Las Vegas’ Coyote Country Radio 102.7 KCYE-FM, as well as stream online at hopeforthecity.tv.

The fundraiser event is being organized by Hope For The City (more on them below), which is a local nonprofit organization that is committed to providing, relief and food assistance to those in dire need in Clark County. 100% of donations made throughout the show will go directly to Hope For The City.

“A Night of Hope” will be hosted by ABC The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison and Emmy-award winning television personality Giuliana Rancic.

Other celebrities are also expected to be in attendance, including members of the Vegas Golden Nights, Jon Gruden, Montell Jordan, Tedy Bruschi, Spencer Tillman, Jason Giambi, Brian Welch, and many more to be announced.

About Hope For The City

Hope For The City is a collective Las Vegas-based group including residents, businesses, and nonprofits who have all come together in an effort to meet the needs of the underserved in Las Vegas’ community.

They’re partnered with many faith-based organizations across the valley, including mega-church Central Church in Henderson, Three Square Food Bank, Share Village Las Vegas & Veterans Village, Henderson & Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments, and more.

Hope For The City has supplied food to 256,431 individual people in over 56,000 households across America. The total number of pounds of food supplied is over 2.9 million. The organization has also created over 117 pop-up government-approved food pantries.

During the pandemic, the organization has also been providing assistance to medical personnel, first responders, and food deliveries to over 1,500 elderly across the community who cannot leave their homes to obtain food and other necessary supplies due to the outbreak.

More About “A Night of Hope”

“A Night of Hope,” which is being described as an event “by Vegas for Vegas” will feature artists, athletes, celebrities and other public figures who either live in or love the city of Las Vegas.

The aim of the show is to raise awareness of the desperate food needs all across Las Vegas right now, as well as showing immense thanks to those who are fighting on the front lines in the Las Vegas community during the pandemic.

All donations that are made to Hope For The City through the fundraising event will be tax-deductible.

Venetian Las Vegas Gives 1,000 Meals Daily to Homeless

LOVE Sign Inside of Venetian Resort Las VegasIn a partnership with Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, the Venetian Resort is providing 1,000 boxed meals a day to the homeless in the Las Vegas Valley.

From May 1 through May 14, they will be providing meals daily for a total of 14,000 meals.

The Venetian partnered with Catholic Charities for the philanthropic mission since Catholic Charities’ dining room was shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak, which hindered their ability to provide homeless outreach.

Every boxed meal is prepared fresh daily by the Venetian’s culinary team, which is led by the vice president of culinary operations at The Venetian Las Vegas, Chef Olivier Dubreuil.

The boxed meals contain a “Message of LOVE,” which is a note of encouragement submitted online by Venetian team members all across the globe. It coincides with the lit-up display of the word “LOVE” that has been shining big and bright on the property’s building throughout the Strip’s shutdown.

Each box also comes equipped with a Venetian Clean hygiene kit, which contains body wash, soap, and lotion.

Sands China Assembles 40,000 Hygiene Kits for Clean the World

For the sixth year in a row, Sands China Ltd., a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) which owns the Venetian Las Vegas, participated in a hygiene kit build, similar to the kits provided in the boxed meals.

Last December, nearly 350 volunteers from Sands China Ltd. and local community groups came together at The Venetian Macao to build 40,000 of the total 100,000 hygiene kits necessary for the Las Vegas Sands 2019 Global Disaster Relief & Community Preparedness Event with Clean the World.

Clean the World is a social enterprise that provides hygiene supplies that are vital to and support good health and the prevention of disease to underserved populations around the globe.

These emergency response hygiene kits are distributed to those in immediate need during crisis and disaster. The 40,000 kits developed from the event benefited the global charity Children International and sent the kits to families in need in the Philippines.

Venetian Clean Commitment

With casinos on the horizon of opening back up on the Las Vegas Strip and nationwide, it’s the time for casino operators to develop serious safety precautions for staff and visitors to feel safe returning to properties.

The Venetian Las Vegas recently outlined its Venetian Clean Commitment initiative, which was developed through industry and governmental guidance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a document summary that includes 800 individual initiatives.

Some of those specific initiatives include:

  • Thermal screenings of every entrant to the casino, including staff members and guests, set up at different entry points on the property to monitor an individual’s internal temperature.
  • Venetian Clean “personal care” kit for hotel suite guests.
  • Allowing visitors to masks and gloves when visiting the resort, with the exception of masks that cover the entire face.
  • Rearranging the casino floor and other physical layouts to support social distancing guidelines.
  • State-of-the-art clean technology, including thermal scanners, UV lights for decontaminating shipments and frequently used hotel equipment, and sterilay disinfection wand for retail spaces to disinfect POS systems and other hard surfaces.
  • Additional COVID-19 training to team members.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) provided to every staff member.

Stay Tuned

While the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas remains closed amid the statewide shut down of casinos, we’re happy to see the ways the property is reaching out to help those in need in the Las Vegas area.

The property recently canceled all guest reservations through May 31, and it’s clear that they’re taking the necessary steps and precautions to open back up as safely as they possibly can.

Will you be visiting the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas once they reopen? Let us know in the comments below. As always, stay safe and healthy out there!

South Point Casino in LV Launches Drive-Thru Sports Betting Station

South Point Hotel and CasinoBeginning Wednesday, May 6, the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will be launching the South Point Sports app for mobile betting.

New users will be able to sign up for the app through a drive-up station located at the valet entrance, where they will be able to deposit money and wager on upcoming sports events.

Brand new customers must sign up for the app in person, and existing customers must also have to make their deposits in person as well. The South Point valet entrance will be open for new and existing customers seven days a week, from 11 a.m. through 6 p.m, beginning May 6.

The South Point’s new drive-up system complies with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, and is a convenient option for sports bettors to place their bets “quarantine-style.”

The new system was launched ahead of sport’s likely return this month, and ahead of what looks like another few weeks before casinos are finally able to reopen nationwide.

Customers who are signing up for the app must be 21 or older with a valid photo ID. Users can download the app through Apple, Google Play Store, or through southpointsports.com.

What Sports Can Users Bet on Through the App Right Now?

Right now, users can start placing their bets on new UFC and NASCAR events that are scheduled to roll out this month.

Currently, UFC and NASCAR are the first U.S. sports organizations to return to the scene amid the pandemic.

On May 9, UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje will jumpstart UFC’s return with a revamped fight card for the interim lightweight title. The winner of the fight is expected to square off against Khabib Nurmagomedov this fall.

Beginning May 17, NASCAR announced they will be resuming operations with seven races in the books.

The races will be held at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, and three races will be held over the course of four days in Darlington before moving the races to the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on May 24, where four races will be held over four days.

Both the UFC and NASCAR events will be held without fans present, and include only necessary personnel. They will also include the follow coronavirus safety precautions:

  • Required use of personal protective equipment throughout the event.
  • Health screenings conducted on all individuals prior to entering the facility, while inside the facility, and upon exiting the facility.
  • Social distancing measured implemented throughout the event.
  • Strict limits on the number of individuals that are given access to each facility.

Stay Tuned

Casinos seem to be on the horizon of reopening within the next few months, with some operators hopeful that they’ll reopen by June 1 at the latest.

We’re happy to see that South Point is preparing to get back to business as usual on the sports betting front, and love that they’ve introduced a handy new system that bettors can use amid the outbreak.

Will you be signing up for the new South Point Sports app? And will you be placing any bets on the upcoming UFC:249 fight or NASCAR races this May?

Let us know in the comments below!

Graton Casino in CA Furloughs a Third of its 2,000 Employees

Graton Casino & ResortThe Graton Resort & Casino is the Bay Area’s largest gambling hub, and one of Sonoma County’s largest employers.

But with a nationwide casino shutdown that’s lasted nearly two months, the casino-resort had to look into cutting costs to survive the economic downfall caused by COVID-19.

While the company was able to pay a majority of its workers and cover healthcare benefits through April, with the realization that it might be a few more weeks until casino doors everywhere can reopen again, they were forced into looking at would drastically help their business’ bottom line.

In an effort to massively reduce payroll costs, the Graton Resort & Casino furloughed a third of its employees last Friday.

Furloughs, Lay-Offs, and Management Cuts

The company’s latest move to financially protect its assets involved not only furloughs, but complete lay-offs to recent employees, and pay cuts to upper management members, says Greg Sarris, tribal chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, owner of the casino property.

According to Sarris, recognizing that coronavirus restrictions on nonessential businesses would put off the casino reopening for weeks, it became time to look into ways to help save on payroll costs to prepare for being shut down even longer.

Workers who were with the casino property for less than 90 day were laid off, while top members of management received a 20% pay cut.

Sarris says that as the company watched the virus go from bad to worse, they started asking what they had to do to make up for lost revenue during these challenging times.

Casino Workers Likely Eligible for Unemployment Assistance

When casino workers began receiving federal checks, it started to become clear that these workers would also be eligible to receive unemployment assistance.

Realizing this made the hard decision to furlough three-quarters of the casino’s 2,000 workers a bit easier, because it gave upper management peace of mind that they would receive state unemployment assistance.

According to Graton’s general manager, Lana Rivera, 350 salaries workers remain employed currently. Another 150 workers also remain employed with the casinos, in roles ranging from casino security to cleaning crews and kitchen staff.

Impact on Sonoma County’s Hospitality Workforce

The Sonoma County hospitality workforce accounts for nearly 23,000 jobs.

According to the California Hotel & Lodging Association, over a third of the county’s hotel properties have been shut down. Countywide, there are 160 hotel properties, all of which have been impacted to varying degrees due to the coronavirus shut down.

Although pay for furlough workers has ceased, many of Sonoma county’s hotel properties continue to provide healthcare benefits for qualifying workers, according to the lodging association’s CEO, Lynn Mohrfeld.

Four-Step Plan to Reopening

Sarris says he foresees a “modest reopening” for early June, and mentioned Wynn Resorts’ prediction of a Memorial Day weekend reopening for its properties in Las Vegas.

To ease California Gov. Newsom’s concerns for the casinos reopening, Sarris has developed a four-step reopening plan.

“We will work very closely with him to reopen in phases, and it’ll look a lot like a ‘Brave New World’,” Sarris said. “Machines will be 6 feet apart and you cannot take off your mask unless you’re seated at a machine. Tables will be spaced apart and only three people allowed at a time, with the dealer heavily masked.”

The casino property’s four-stage reopening plan echoes the Governor’s four-stage plan for reopening the state’s economy. However, since the tribal casino is a sovereign nation, it isn’t tied down Newsom’s statewide order or the county’s shutdown.

Sarris says he agrees with the Governor’s data and science-based approach to dealing with the outbreak, and their property will adhere to all possible safety precautions should they reopen ahead of the governor and the county.

“I’ve never had the attitude of, ‘Well, we don’t have to do what you tell us’,” Sarris said. “We are good neighbors, and we live here, too.”

State Prepares to Reopen Retail Stores, And Restaurants in Rural Counties

This Friday, Gov. Newsom is allowing the shutdown restriction to be lifted for some retail sectors, including bookstores, clothing shops, sporting goods stores, and flower shops.

These specific retail businesses will be able to resume operations, so long as local officials give their approval, and make operational changes to support coronavirus safety measures, such as having workers wear masks and other protective equipment.

The Governor said many counties across the state are preparing to reopen retail for curbside pickup Friday, which will help maintain physical-distancing measures, which will in turn help to continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The reopening of these retail sectors are a part of Stage 2 of the Governor’s four-stage plan and includes the reopening of restaurants and hospitality in rural counties with approval from elected leaders and health officers.

Stay Tuned

With some of the restrictions being lifted in California by week’s end, it will provide some valuable insight into how well the state will fare once sectors begin reopening and should hopefully help determine when casinos in the state can open back up.

Currently, the state has 54,937 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,254 related deaths.

We hope that the Governor’s four-stage plan will help effectively prevent the further spread of COVID-19, but the fluid outbreak situation and phased reopening of sectors will need to be monitored closely before the next steps can be taken.

What do you think about California reopening retail businesses and restaurants in rural communities? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Orleans Casino in Las Vegas Offering Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing

Coronavirus CDC Test KitFor two days this week, The Orleans Hotel & Casino will be offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing by appointment only.

The property will be able to take 300 appointments on both days, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5 and 6. The drive-thru testing can be found on the resort’s first-floor parking garage off Cameron Street.

Appointment can be made between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and will be open to all comers.

The testing will be a three-step process that should take around ten minutes to complete.

Testers will first be greeted by members of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department and National Guard troops to ensure that they have an appointment. Next, they’ll be given their information. Lastly, testers will drive to a station where a nurse and additional troops will be stationed to administer them a nasal swab test.

UMC Partners with Clark County

According to the press release that announced the drive-thru testing, University Medical Center (UMC) has partnered with Clark County to make the testing available to Nevada residents.

The cost of testing for those who don’t have insurance will be fully covered by federal funding from the CARES Act.

Individuals who have made an appointment to get tested will get tested while they’re in their cars, and results should be available within two days.

Expanded testing is a part of a larger effort to open the state back up and start rebuilding the local economy, say Clark County officials.

Commissioner Michael Naft said this in the press release:

“This is a critical step in ensuring that we are collecting as much data as possible so that we can do what we all want – to return to normal as soon as possible – in this environment…Our goal is to offer more locations in the near future where the public can be tested, including Laughlin.”

Testing in Clark County

Other locations in the Las Vegas valley have also been providing drive-thru testing and other forms of testing, like at-home testing.

This week, a Walmart location in North Las Vegas started providing drive-thru testing that will be available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. by appointment as well.

Testing will be on the Walmart parking lot at 1807 W. Craig Road. According to city officials, this is the first Walmart in the state to providing a COVID-19 testing site. Testing will be limited to only those individuals who are exhibiting coronavirus symptoms.

However, the parking lot testing will be open to all health care providers and first responders, outside of whether they’re exhibiting symptoms or not.

No out-of-pocket cost will be necessary to test, but individuals are asked to bring their insurance card and a valid ID. The test results should be delivered within two to three days of testing.

Cases in Clark County

According to Monday’s Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) report, there are 4,362 positive cases of coronavirus in Clark County, and 5,941 cases in Nevada altogether.

As you can see, Clark County makes up the bulk of cases. But as cases rise, so do the total number of people who are recovering from the virus.

In Clark County, 3,018 people have recovered from COVID-19.

Statewide, over 57,000 tests have been conducted. Of those tests, almost 40,000 people have tested negative from coronavirus.

Stay Tuned

While the Orleans has agreed to host two days of drive-thru testing at its property, there are plans to expand the number of days and weeks that testing will be available, so be sure to stay tuned for those dates.

Las Vegas Casinos Have Different Tentative Reopening Dates for May

Las Vegas Strip at NightIt’s coming up on close to two months where Las Vegas casinos have been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What was originally aimed to be a reopening date of April 30th has since been pushed back, and will depend on the state meeting the requirements outlined in Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s phased reopening plan.

With that said, it seems like the state reopening is on the horizon, with many casino operators estimating a mid-May opening date through June 1. Casino operators are making reopening plans that are targeting different opening dates in May.

Announced Reopening Dates

The first casinos to announce tentative reopening dates were Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, and Treasure Island, saying they would tentatively reopen on May 15. They’ve since pushed back their projected dates to May 22.

The Venetian, who canceled all guest reservations through May 31, and Palazzo announced a less optimistic but more seemingly realistic date of June 1.

Other casinos are estimating a reopening date around the May 15 through June 1 ballpark as well.

Casinos Are Outlining Reopening Measures

With the notion of casinos reopening sometime soon, it’s causing casino operators everywhere to get serious about their reopening measures and enforce strict social distancing policies.

The state’s Gaming Control Board even recently released its health and safety policies for gaming operators. A big one being that each gaming area will be reduced to a 50% occupancy limit, which means no more than four at poker tables among other restrictions.

Other common policies include strict sanitation methods, coronavirus training for staff members, rearranging casino floors to support social distancing guidelines, thermal screenings on guests and staff, and more.

Shutdown Restrictions Are Beginning to Lift Across the Country

Outside of casinos reopening, the country is beginning to lift restrictions on many nonessential businesses such as the entertainment, retail, and food sector, as well as stay-at-home orders.

States that are lifting their stay-at-home orders by May 14 include Arizona, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Delaware, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, New Mexico, and New York.

Travel Industry Steps Up Safety Procedures in Attempt to Revive Business

Many of the people who come to Las Vegas come via plane, but with confidence low in air travel right now amid the coronavirus outbreak, the travel industry has had to step up their safety procedures in an attempt to welcome frequent fliers back.

The U.S. Travel Association, the nation’s largest travel trade group, has also unveiled their enhanced cleaning and safety protocols to ease traveler’s worries.

Last week, the nation’s largest airlines announced that they will be requiring passengers to wear masks or similar face coverings during flights. Many of the largest carriers will also require that their air staff, including flight attendants and other employees, to wear masks as well.

On Monday, United, Delta, and JetBlue put the mask-wearing requirement into effect. Beginning May 11, American Airlines, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines will also put the masking requirement into effect.

Stay Tuned

When do you expect Las Vegas casinos to reopen?

And will you feel comfortable flying to Las Vegas when it does reopen, should airlines implement strict safety coronavirus protocols?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

MGM Resorts Proposes to Host Remaining NBA Season in Las Vegas Property

NBA LogoAlthough the NBA season is still currently suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league is looking into where they could potentially host the remaining games of the 2019-20 season if the suspension gets lifted soon.

Currently, the NBA is figuring out whether or not they can return to action sometime this summer. But, figuring that out comes with figuring out a prime location to host the games.

According to the New York Times, MGM Resorts in Las Vegas has reportedly offered itself as a host location to hold the remaining regular-season games.

The company believes their resort on the Las Vegas strip would serve as the ideal host for the league and its teams, setting them up in a quarantined portion of the Strip.

MGM Resorts has also reportedly sent proposals to other professional leagues outside of the NBA, including the WNBA, the NHL, and MLS, volunteering to the host site to hold their seasons as well.

Details of MGM’s Proposal

It appears as though MGM will have one “fully quarantined” campus in Las Vegas. This particular campus is where teams, players, and their coaches would stay and also be the same location where they would play their games.

Additionally, players’ family members, as well as NBA and broadcast media workers will also stay at the quarantined campus.

In the proposal, it was mentioned that the Mandalay Bay, which has 4,700 rooms and is connected to two other hotels: the Delano and the Four Seasons, has a large convention center that could build up to 24 courts.

In the past, the same convention center held games for the WNBA Las Vegas Aces. The way the courts would be designated would be five courts being used specifically for games, with the other 19 being used for game practices.

Should additional court space be needed, the proposal mentioned getting that additional space from the Thomas & Mack Center. The Thomas & Mack Center is an arena on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ campus, where the NBA holds its Summer League games.

No Details Given on Safety Protocols Just Yet

While MGM Resorts bid outlined the specific space they would use to host the league’s games, and that adequate, quarantined space is available, no details were provided on the specific health and safety protocol they would implement.

Although no details were given on that front, the company said those precautionary measures would be “extensive.”

According to the New York Times, any individual entering the designated campus would need to agree to the protocols they devise up, and that those same individuals will have to agree to remain at the resorts for the whole trip.

NBA Offers Guidelines on Ticket Refunds and Credits

The suspension of the NBA meant the suspension of games that fans had previously purchased tickets to.

On Monday, sources advised that the NBA began giving fans guidelines on what they could do with their purchased tickets. Those guidelines include policies on ticket refunds and credit backs.

However, the league hasn’t started canceling future games, as plans about what the league will do for the remainder of the season are still being finalized.

It’s important to note that while fans will start getting updated on ticket policies soon, that doesn’t mean the cancellation of games is guaranteed. What ticket holders should expect is that any future games will likely be fan-less.

Fans are being encouraged to continue monitoring the NBA ticket policy for important updates until a final determination is made regarding the remainder of the season.

Fan-less Sports Seems Like the Solution to Sports Returning Right Now

With basically the entire sports world being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, it makes the most sense that the only way for sports to return right now is by being a fan-less event.

While that takes away a lot of the excitement, not to mention motivation for the players, it’s a seemingly winning solution to getting sports back to the global table.

It also seems to be the safest solution in a world that’s being heavily impacted by COVID-19.

Stay Tuned

What do you think about Las Vegas being a potential host location for the remainder of the NBA season? Do you think sports being held as fan-less events will change the way games are played? And do you think the NBA will even be able to return this Summer?

We’d love for you to weigh-in with your thoughts below!

MGM’s Bellagio and New-York New-York Properties Likely to Reopen First

New-York New-York CasinoWe’re now in May, which means it’s likely it won’t be too much longer that Las Vegas Strip casinos stay closed.

The statewide shutdown of casinos happened the second week of March and was originally only expected to stay in effect until the end of the month. But, the shutdown got extended to April 30, and now Nevada is under a phased reopening plan.

It’s been a necessary extension, with how fluid the coronavirus pandemic has been, and with the growth of cases in Nevada. However, government officials believe the state reached its peak around April 24.

With casinos preparing to reopen by implementing coronavirus safety protocols, MGM Resort executives are in talks over which of their properties they’ll likely reopen first.

In Thursday’s first-quarter earnings call, Acting MGM Resorts International CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, provided a glimpse into what visitors can expect from the chain, saying that New York-New York and Bellagio will most likely to be the first of the company’s Nevada properties to reopen when the time comes.

MGM Resorts has 13 outlets in Southern Nevada, to be exact, including City Center’s Aria and Vdara, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Delano, MGM Grand, The Signature at MGM Grand, The Mirage, Park MGM, and 42.5% ownership of T-Mobile Arena.

MGM Releasing Reopening Strategy Within the Coming Weeks

According to Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts will be unveiling its reopening strategy in the coming weeks.

First reopening priority for the company? Ensuring that each of their unique properties is putting health and safety at the forefront of the operations. Hornbuckle says that the key to economic recovery will lie in their ability to build consumer confidence.

The company has been working with public health officials and experts in the epidemiology and biosafety fields to develop a set of safety protocols that will help provide the safest possible environment for staff members and guests.

Reopening measures will include social distancing, providing adequate personal protective equipment to staff, stringent sanitation of public areas and high-contact items, crowd management, and more.

MGM’s Will Move at a ‘Slow, Responsive, and Responsive’ Rate in Reopening

MGM will first reopen two or three properties first, namely Bellagio and New York-New York, to target different traveler’s budget.

The Bellagio is a luxury mid-Strip resort geared toward visitors who are looking for a more high-end experience of the Strip, as the property includes high-end shops, the famous Bellagio fountains, a conservatory and museum.

The New York-New York is a midprice hotel on the south end of the Strip that’s located close to T-Mobile Arena and Park MGM and includes a roller coaster, Irish pub, and arcade on property.

Hornbuckle says that after they reopen the first couple of properties, they’re going at a slow, responsive and responsible pace when it comes to opening the rest of their properties.

Of course, it will be dependent on how the Las Vegas Strip will fare in general with the reopening of casinos amid the pandemic that’s still currently going on.

MGM also advised that they would not be opening all of their restaurants at the hotels just yet and that they’ll be provided the options of takeout food and beverage.

What About Concerts, Sports Events, and Other Big Shows?

With the uncertainty of Las Vegas will fare once it reopens for business, it’s no surprise that Hornbuckle believes these types of events will be off the radar for the foreseeable future.

“I think the idea that we’re going to get 15,000 people in T-Mobile (Arena) for a concert anytime this year is probably a stretch,” Hornbuckle said.

Hornbuckle says MGM will likely start with smaller, more intimate performances when it comes time to reopening those specific entertainment outlets.

 

Sports Betting is Finally Legal in Colorado!

Crowded SportsbookDespite the global pandemic that’s going on and the suspension of major sports that happened because of it, Colorado couldn’t wait to finally launch legalized sports betting.

The Centennial State will officially be open to taking sports bets May 1.

It will still serve as a historic day for sports fans in the state, even though bettors’ options will be severely limited right now. Colorado has bigger future plans to be a robust state for sports betting.

Bronco fans need to look no further than their own backyard to place sports bets anymore, and that’s something worth celebrating even during these challenging times.

Here’s a brief rundown on the road to sports betting in Colorado and what it looks like.

Supreme Court Decision Makes a Way

The 2018 U.S. Supreme Court that ruled that sports betting bans were unconstitutional and needed a revision was a major victory for the sports betting market in the U.S.

Although it took six years of litigation to finally pass, once it did, states like New Jersey took the lead in implementing the legal sports betting market, and soon others quickly followed.

In a bipartisan effort, lawmakers in Colorado referred for a sports betting measure to be added on the Nov. 2019 statewide ballot. That paved the way for a majority of Colorado voters saying “yes” to legalizing sports betting, as well as a 10 percent tax rate on any casino earnings.

What Legalized Betting Means for the State

Different states have their own unique rules and regulations when it comes to legalized sports betting.

For Colorado, a wide variety of sports is available for wagers with the legalization. That spans from major professional sports to the more niche, unheard of sports.

NFL, soccer, track and field, Olympic games, will all be available to bet on, but so will sports like intercollegiate competitions and professional video-game competition, granted that the specific sportsbook creates a wager for them.

Ways You Can Bet

Betting will be done in one of two ways.

The first is betting at physical locations. Once casinos reopen in the state, which is expected to be near the end of May, bettors can drive to them and place their bets on-site.

The other betting option is mobile betting applications, which any phone is Colorado will be capable of doing.

What Kind of Bets Can Be Made?

Wagers will range from simple bets that many sports bettors are already used to seeing claiming team winners, like “The Denver Broncos beat the Miami Dolphins,” but there will also be the option for more complicated bets including wins by a specific point range.

What Kinds of Sports Can Bettors Bet on Immediately?

It’s definitely a unique situation that Colorado has run into with the official launch of sports betting. Many of the sports bettors are used to waging on simply aren’t an option right now.

With that reality in mind, what can bettors in Colorado expect to bet on right now?

Well, right now the main focus seems to be upcoming UFC matches. State gaming officials are also looking to see if virtual NASCAR races will be sanctioned.

And one of the most anticipated sporting events of the month looks like it will be the charity golf match between Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.

Stay Tuned

We’re happy to states like Colorado, who have waited patiently for sports betting to arrive on the scene, finally get to be a part of the family of states who has already gotten legal with it.

Although it comes out at a seemingly inopportune time, that doesn’t dull the excitement of legalization and the future of sports betting in Colorado to come.

Are you still placing sports wagers during this offseason for major sports? We’d love to know what you’re betting on.

Hopefully, casinos will be reopening by month’s end, and by Summer, we’ll be able to see some sports can return again.

 

4,000 Employees Get Furloughed Across 3 Indiana Casinos

Indiana CasinoThree different casinos in Indiana have furloughed a combined total of nearly 4,000 employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The affected casinos include Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Indiana Grand Racing Casino in Shelbyville, and Horseshoe Hammond.

Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino cited they furloughed 998 employees since March 16. Indiana Grand Racing Casino furloughed 1,126 employees on April 1. Horseshoe Hammond furloughed 1,693 employees since March 16.

While these furloughs are expected to be temporary, the fluid nature of the pandemic could see them lasting longer, and possibly even be permanent.

Casinos File through the Warn Act

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act was put into place to help provide workers with ample time to prepare for job transitions and protection for workers, their families, and communities with the requirement that employers provide 60-days-notice of plant closings or mass layoffs.

However, with the unexpected nature of the outbreak, an advanced 60-day notice was simply not possible.

With the public health emergency, compliance was not something that could be foreseen in advance, and it’s a reason why for leeway that’s been given to the casinos.

According to Trent McIntosh, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, their notice was given as soon practically possible under the circumstances.

Indiana’s Gaming Figures Plummet in March

With figures not unique to the state of Indiana, their gaming figures have plummeted in the month of March due to the coronavirus.

It’s no surprise that American casinos have taken a heavy economic hit with the forced closure of casinos that began in March.

For the month of March, Indiana’s 12 licensed casinos and racinos made $90.6 million in adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

Compare that number with February’s AGR however, which was $192.5 million. That’s a 52.9 percent drop in gross revenue.

COVID-19 is also Crunching Indiana’s City Budget

It appears it’s not just the state’s casinos that are taking a financial blow, but the losses those casinos are generating is causing the state to cut city budgets to make up for lost direct revenue and lost employment taxes.

The state’s major attractions are looking at their budgets and cutting out any and all unnecessary attractions.

Sports Betting in Indiana Takes a Back Seat to COVID-19

March was gearing up to be a historic month for the state of Indiana, as it was the first March for legalized sports betting.

With sports being canceled due to the pandemic, however, it made for a less-than-impressive month. March was going to be chock-full of sports bets, with the NCAA Tournament and March Madness going on, but the suspension of the NBA season put that to an abrupt halt.

Things were going well for Indiana on the sports bet front in February, hitting $187.2 million in placed bets. Their betting handle for March, however, was $74.8 million.

Before March came, Indiana was fourth place in the sports betting market throughout the entire nation, an impressive feat indeed. They were only behind Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Nevada.

Stay Tuned

With the fluid nature of COVID-19, it’s unsure whether or not these furloughs will be a temporary solution or end up being permanent.

Indiana isn’t alone when it comes to being strategic with its budget amid the coronavirus crisis. Other casinos across the country, namely Las Vegas, have also resorted to furloughs and layoffs to deal with the economic downturn of the outbreak.

We hope that Indiana’s sports betting market will bounce back once business returns to normal. We’re optimistic that it will.

Be sure to check back for coronavirus casino updates!

Las Vegas Company Develops Safety Shield for Tables Games, Slot Machines

Table GameWhile Las Vegas is still in shutdown, there’s a possibility they could be reopening within the month, according to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s phased reopening plan.

In Phase Zero of the plan, the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are to be monitored over a 14-day period. So far, the daily total number of cases seems to be dropping. Currently, Nevada has 4,690 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The shutdown was originally set to be lifted April 30, but with that being only one day away, it’s pretty clear that the reopening date will be pushed back.

With casinos reopening, Las Vegas casinos are planning to put in safety measures and protocols to make sure their space is a safe space for team members and staff to return to.

That created the perfect opportunity for Las Vegas-based company Screaming Images. The firm has begun developing a safety shield that properties can utilize for their table games and slot machines.

Other major retailers have begun implementing similar shields, including sneeze guards at checkout counters at grocery and retail stores, and distribution centers like Costco.

About Safety Shields

These clear acrylic shields are being custom-made to fit onto a variety of casino games and will provide the necessary separation between players and dealers, hopefully giving both parties peace of mind.

James Swanson, Screaming Images executive, says these shields will hopefully take care of their existing customers.

The shields are also giving the company a way to stay busy during the shutdown, and forcing them to come up with new and fresh ideas that they can pitch to the casinos. Swanson calls the project a joint effort “between everyone in the city.”

Right now, Downtown’s El Cortez casino is testing out the product on its casino gaming floor.

The product is seemingly effective while being convenient. Swanson says the acrylic shields don’t fog up and involve an easy clean-up.

Depending on where they’re being installed, the process can take a mere 15 minutes, as it doesn’t involve any screws or damage to tables or gaming machines.

Safety Shields Receiving Positive Feedback

Among those casino operators who have had a chance to see the product or have been in talks about it, the feedback has been positive. It’s also a great time to introduce the product, with casino executives developing reopening safety protocols.

Adam Wiesberg, El Cortez general manager, says Swanson is one of the company’s best vendors “by far,’ and gladly welcomed giving the new product a shot on their casino floors.

Wiesberg says Swanson is extremely reliable and responsive and puts his trust in the new technology Wiesberg has developed for this critical period in Las Vegas history.

The shields aren’t exclusive to resort-use only but will be made available to restaurants and other businesses who are trying to safeguard their operations.

Safety Shield Will Be Recyclable

Another winning feature of this newly-developed product is that it will be able to be recycled.

As it’ll be utilized as a temporary safety feature, and not in the plans for long-time use, Swanson said it was vital for them to come up with a way to have the components be recycled once they’re no longer needed.

“The biggest thing for us is it is recyclable. We’re going to have a program put together to make sure it’s not just thrown away in the trash can,” Swanson said.

About Screaming Images

Screaming Images has been in operation for 18 years, with 15 of those years spent in business locally.

Their line of work spans across design, print and installation work.

You might recall some of their major finished products, including the blown-up Golden Knights’ jersey lady liberty wore in front of the New York-New York, or the building wraps on the MGM Grand that get featured before highly-anticipating boxing fights.

The company is in business with various resorts across the valley, and provides work for major Las Vegas events such as EDC, Life is Beautiful, as well as working with the local sports entites: the Golden Vegas Knights, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Aces.

Boyd Gaming CEO Believes Local Casinos Could Help Las Vegas Rebound

Main Street Station Casino in Las VegasWith the pandemic still afloat, many people will have to think twice before indulging in many of the same luxuries and entertainment options they were used to doing before coronavirus hit, at least for a while.

With that kind of thinking in mind, Keith Smith, president, and CEO of Boyd Gaming believes that the local market will be the driving force behind Las Vegas’ economic recovery.

And where do many of the locals go to play? Off-Strip properties that typically don’t see as many tourist visitors.

Boyd Gaming owns 10 of those properties across the Las Vegas valley: Aliante, The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Sam’s Town, Cannery, Eastside Cannery, California Hotel, Fremont, and Main Street Station Casino. The company owns another 19 casinos throughout the U.S.

History Shows Strip Isn’t Where Rebound Will Likely Happen

According to Smith, the recession period between 2008-2009 served as a reminder of what a season of recovery looks like in Vegas, after it’s been impacted by a heavy financial downturn. While he’s not sure if there’s a direct correlation there, it’s worth considering.

During that timeframe, Smith said that many eyes looked to the Strip as the fuel for rebounding the locals market, but “it never really did.”

Smith said many hoped for the Strip’s health to funnel down into the locals market, but that it took years before that was even able to happen.

The odds of the Strip returning to the levels it was used to at the top of the year before the outbreak took place, will depend on a lot of factors that are being affected deeply right now.

Those factors include the confidence of tourists to travel to Las Vegas, the confidence of people in general in being around large crowds, and the effectiveness of coronavirus protocols that casinos are planning to enact.

Retirees Fuel Locals Market

Retirees make up a huge chunk of Vegas’ locals market.

Smith says a large percentage of Boyd’s gaming is from retirees who live in Las Vegas. And he believes that percentage will remain unchanged or possibly even grow once properties begin opening back up.

Local retirees didn’t have a job when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and they still won’t have a job when things reopen. Their income has generally been unaffected by the outbreak and remains, for the most part, fixed.

In fact, many experts believe that older-Americans are still among the fastest-growing segment of avid gamblers.

Locals Market Poses to be Most Healthy for Reopening

Smith brought up an interesting statistic: A fifth of Las Vegas visitation is made up of international visitors.

However, Boyd’s properties don’t get much international visitation at all. That, in the case of a post-coronavirus-closure world, is a good thing in rebuilding up the locals market.

This is especially true since many are expected to be wary of air travel, even when most of the dust settles on COVID-19.

The locals market doesn’t rely on international visitation, and being a part of a market where most of its patrons don’t have to travel far to get there, it looks like a promising start to the road to recovery.

Many locals who have been feeling cooped up with the state’s stay-at-home order are looking for an escape, and Smith believes his properties will be a part of that escape, especially will all the pent-up demand to leave the house.

Locals won’t have to do much but get in their cars and drive down to the nearest Boyd Gaming property. It’s a win-win market and one that will likely be necessary to help refuel Vegas’ economy.

Plans for Reopening

Boyd Gaming, like many other casino operators in Las Vegas and nationwide, is looking forward to the day when they can reopen their properties. That time is hopefully coming soon.

Smith says that Boyd Gaming will be adhering to strict reopening safety protocols that “will meet or exceed the requirements set forth by health officials” when governing authorities deem it’s the right time to resume business.

“We’re having good, constructive dialogues with state leadership in each of the 10 states where we operate. None have talked about opening casinos in the next two weeks, but they’re all talking about the opening of casinos at some point in the future, which is a good sign that we’re in the conversation,” Smith added.

Smith, whose properties span across the U.S., believes that each state will reopen at their own pace, but hopes their properties will all reopen by early June.

Stay Tuned

Counting on a healthy locals market to re-boost the Las Vegas economy seems like a safe bet for sure. It seems like the market will be necessary to help Las Vegas rebound more quickly.

Do you think the locals market will see more business than the Las Vegas Strip once casinos reopen?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your insight with us in the comments below!

Venetian Las Vegas Outlines Reopening Protocols

Venetian Las VegasThe Venetian Las Vegas, who recently canceled all guest reservations through May 31, announced their protocols for reopening the casino amid the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.

General measures involve the thermal screening of all guests, providing masks to all guests, and rearranging the casino floor to support social distancing.

Hundreds of hand sanitizing stations have also been deployed all throughout the resort’s high traffic areas.

In the new initiative that they’re calling the “Venetian Clean Commitment” over 800 initiatives have been put into place. They involve specific cleaning guidelines and COVID-19 screening measures.

COVID-19 Specific Initiatives

The property has put several specific COVID-19 initiatives in place to maintain the health of safety of every guest that visits the resorts. They include:

  • Thermal screeners at every entry point to monitor team members and guest’s internal temperature. Those who show temperatures at or over 100.4°F (38°C) will require a second screening and further medical assessment.
  • Allowing guests to wear personal face masks and gloves while visiting the resort, with the exception of masks that cover the entire face. The resort will provide hotel guests with a complimentary face mask, and a Venetian Clean “personal care” kit for hotel suite guest.
  • 25 certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) will be on-site and available 24 hours a day.
  • The resort has rearranged the casino floor, including slot machines and table games, to support social distancing. Restaurant tables and other physical layouts have also been rearranged, including reduced seating.

Venetian Clean Technology

The resort is using the latest technology to make sure its property is at the highest standards of sanitation. That technology includes:

  • Thermal scanners that allow for a non-invasive check of any individual that gets scanned.
  • New electrostatic sprayers that spray hospital-grade disinfectants on high-touch surfaces throughout off-peak business hours. Focus areas include hotel lobbies, public spaces, and heart-of-house offices.
  • UV lights to decontaminate any shipments that arrive or leave the resort. The technology will also be utilized to decontaminate frequently used hotel equipment, such as bell service carts and luggage.
  • Sterilray disinfection wand to be used at every resort retail space in disinfecting POS systems and other frequently touched hard surfaces.

Team Member Initiatives

Team members will also be given specific initiatives to ensure the safest possible workspace. Those initiatives include:

  • Additional training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols, including comprehensive training to team members who have frequent guest contact, including housekeeping, food & beverage, hotel operations, and security.
  • Thermal scans of every team member, which will occur at each hotel entrance.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to every team member, with certain variances in what type of PPE will be worn based on job roles and responsibilities.
  • “Heart of house” back areas will receive frequent cleaning and disinfecting, with an emphasis on staff dining areas, staff entrance, uniform control rooms, training classrooms, and service desks.
  • Shared tools and equipment will be frequently sanitized and all other direct contact items throughout the resort.

About Venetian Clean Commitment

The Venetian Clean Commitment initiative was developed through closely monitoring industry and government guidance in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The resort has referred to these important guidelines in developing their initiative that focuses on the sanitation, cleaning, and prevention of virus transmission.

The full document represents a summary that includes 800 separate initiatives.

Las Vegas Workers Worry About Returning to Work

Table Dealer Dealing CardsLas Vegas industry workers haven’t been on the job for close to two months now, and with the casino shutdown closer to being lifted, there are mixed emotions about returning to work amid the pandemic.

It seems casino operators won’t just have to worry about easing visitors’ concerns, but it’ll take putting the right precautions into place to bring back worried furloughed staff members as well.

Many casino operators have begun outlining their coronavirus safety measures over the last week.

Those measures include thermal screenings of guests entering casinos, temperature checks, rearranging casinos floors to support social distancing, and staff members using gloves/masks.

But while those measures have been announced, some industry workers don’t immediately feel comfortable going back to work with the virus still in the air.

Workers Express their Worries

Among those who are concerned about returning to work include Robert Elwell, a poker dealer at Planet Hollywood. Elwell, 55, says he’s concerned he’s uncomfortable about the idea of returning to work amid the pandemic because he’s older.

Elwell says that while he knows other workers who are eager to get back to work and back to the money, his life is more important than an uncertain job outlook.

He added that “only time and a vaccine” would make concerned workers want to come back.

Other dealers, like Barb Licht, a craps dealer at the Venetian, worry about being able to deal while wearing gloves.

Licht, who doesn’t have a problem with wearing a mask on the job, says that “there’s not a single dealer that can deal craps, or any game, properly with a pair of gloves.”

However, she’d feel more at peace if chips were sanitized since many hands will be touching them.

Other Workers Are Eager to Return and Connect With Guests

The thought of returning to work during this time has been a mixed bag for those who be interacting with the public on a daily basis.

Some workers can’t wait to get back in on the action and return to “normal Vegas.”

Todd Henderson, a ticket writer for Treasure Island who was furloughed during the shutdown, says he can’t wait to get back to work after being shut in this whole time.

Henderson says he’s looking forward to interacting with people again, and aren’t we all? Concerns of getting sick don’t seem to bother him. He says as long as he has a mask on, and people are keeping their space and following the rules, he feels good about returning to work.

Helping Workers Feel More at Ease

According to Bobbie Barnes, an assistant professor in residence at UNLV’s College of Hospitality, open communication with employees about what’s going on in the respective casinos will be key in helping workers feel more at peace upon returning.

Whatever guidelines casinos are aiming to put into place should be clearly communicated with employees.

Barnes says that when employees can see the structured details that are being discussed, it gives them a greater sense of ease because they’re not in the dark about what’s going on, and because there’s a strategic battle plan being put into motion.

Barnes also recommended that companies stay flexible and understanding to those furloughed workers who aren’t ready to return yet.

He says that certain unions, like the Culinary Union Local 226, are able to negotiate return dates for those who are wary about returning to work right away once casinos reopen.

Stay Tuned

It will be interesting to see how things fare once Las Vegas opens back up.

We do trust that casino operators are doing everything in their power to make sure their guests and employees are welcomed back into a safe space. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out in the coming weeks.

Be sure to check back for updates related to the coronavirus crisis in Las Vegas. Stay safe until then everyone!

Wynn Las Vegas Now Accepting Reservations for Memorial Day Weekend

Wynn Las VegasAlthough the Las Vegas Strip is still shutdown until April 30 (unless a further extension is necessary), some resorts are beginning to book reservations for May, including Wynn Resorts.

Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver says they’ve begun accepting reservations beginning Memorial Day weekend. It’s a strategic move since Weaver explained that the property has always had heavy bookings around the holiday day weekend.

Namely, he says, it’s a popular time for visitors from Southern California to head into Vegas.

According to Weaver, all protective guest and employee measures will be put into place in time to welcome visitors back to the property by Memorial Day.

Other Las Vegas Casinos Taking Reservations for May

As of this Sunday, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Boyd Gaming Corporation. and Station Casinos are all accepting reservations beginning May 15.

According to Caesars spokesman Richard Broome, they want to secure reservations by the time their properties open their doors. But, even if a website has open booking dates, it’s not a guarantee that the property will reopen at that time.

The final reopening decision will rest with Nevada Governor Sisolak, who detailed the state’s phased reopening plan last week.

Broome explained that the company will wait for the Governor’s green light to reopen casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, and will make adjustments to their sites booking dates based on what’s decided in the coming weeks.

Las Vegas Casinos Who Are Cancelling May Reservations

Other mega-properties on the Strip took the opposite approach, by canceling their May reservations until a more promising date is given.

Last week, the Venetian canceled all their reservations through May 31, although they’re extending employee pay through May 17 at the least.

On Friday, MGM Resorts International also canceled their reservations from May 1 through May 21. The next available booking date on MGM’s website isn’t until June 1.

However, many of these casinos are frequently updating their booking dates to reflect the COVID-19 situation, so what’s available today might change next week.

Casinos who have canceled reservations have notified guests that their bookings were canceled.

Wynn Resort’s Protective Casino Measures

On Sunday, Wynn Resorts released updated guidelines on how they plan to implement coronavirus safety measures upon reopening. There are a variety of different precautions in place to ensure guests and staff feel safe upon returning.

Those precautions include staggering poker tables so that every other table is in use. Maximum seating at individual tables will be determined based on expert guidance. Rather than “tapping out,” dealers will verbally state when they are leaving to go on breaks.

Guests will be reminded and constantly encouraged to clean their hands before and after playing,

Supervisors will also be tasked with sanitizing table game rails and chairs once every guest leaves, as well as sanitizing the outside of shufflers every hour.

They’re also being asked to sanitize podiums, phones, computers, and all other hard surfaces.

Slot machines, race, and sportsbooks will all be reconfigured to support social distancing guidelines.

Stay Tuned

A lot can change for Vegas within the next week, should the shutdown measure be lifted.

We’ll just have to stay tuned for what Gov. Sisolak announces in the coming days or weeks.

What do you think about the casino’s preventative reopening measures? Do you think people will rush back to the casinos, or test the waters out first?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And stay safe and healthy out there!

 

Las Vegas Will Have to Wait to Host Biggest NFL Draft Party

Bellagio Fountains2020 was set up to be a big year for Las Vegas. The town, which has always been popularly known as the gaming and entertainment capital of the world, was going to finally establish itself as the sports capital of the world.

That’s huge for Las Vegas. Just a few years ago, the city got its first-ever professional sports team with the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights (VGK). VGK in their debut season made it all the way to the Stanley Cup, coming in second to the Washington Nationals.

The creation of Vegas’ own professional hockey team initiated the city’s path down to becoming a serious sport’s destination, one deserving of respect. That was further cemented at the top of this year when the Oakland Raiders officially became the Las Vegas Raiders.

Allegiant Stadium, the new $2 billion-dollar home stadium for the Raiders, is close to completing its near two-year construction at the end of July.

But outside of the city’s two new professional sport’s teams, there’s been a proliferation of boxing, MMA, rodeo, golf, racing, and NCAA among other major sporting events. That’s more than enough to say Vegas has transitioned itself to become the US’ new sports Mecca.

As if Vegas getting its first-ever professional football team wasn’t exciting enough, the city was named host of the 2020 NFL Draft for the first time ever, too. This was going to be the ideal way to announce the Las Vegas Raiders to the rest of the world.

However, that dream got cut short this year with the coronavirus pandemic going on. Instead of Las Vegas hosting the 2020 NFL Draft, it’s become a virtual-only event. With more people self-isolating at home, it’s actually broke records for becoming the most-watched draft in history.

Las Vegas Announced as 2022 NFL Draft Host

But while Vegas won’t get to throw the biggest party in the NFL Draft this year, fear not. It was recently announced that they will be the host city of the 2022 draft.

That’s certainly something to look forward to, and may even come as better timing as by then, we’ll get to see how a couple of seasons of the Las Vegas Raiders look like in the game.

The National Football League made the announcement on Thursday night, during the start of the 2020 NFL Draft.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell mistakenly made a small flub when he announced that Las Vegas would host the current 2020 draft, but swiftly corrected the statement to reflect the actual 2022 date.

Big Plans Were Put into Place for 2020 Vegas-Style Draft

Never one to be outdone, the party capital of the world had spectacular plans set into place for the 2020 NFL Draft.

One of the most impressive plans was a stage built along the Bellagio Fountains, for a red carpet-reveal of draft perspectives. Prospective players would have arrived at the stage by boat, making for an ‘only Vegas’ style entrance like never seen before.

Outside of that impressive stage, concerts and celebrations with high-profile celebrities were going to be scattered all throughout Draft week to make it an event Las Vegas and the rest of the world wouldn’t soon forget.

Luckily, plans for the 2022 NFL Draft will seemingly include many of the plans that were set for this year. The main stage will still be held at the Caesars Forum Convention Center, and the Bellagio Fountains talks are still in the works.

More announcements on the specifics of the event will be made in the upcoming months, so stay tuned for that.

All is Not Lost

But, these plans aren’t lost, except for in the meantime. Las Vegas will be ready to show itself in 2022, according to Goodell, who hopes the world will return to normal by then.

But, even it doesn’t, Las Vegas will make the splash it’s been destined to make in the sport’s world soon enough.

According to Chris Baldizan, senior vice president of entertainment and marketing for MGM Resorts, while the city is “extremely disappointed” for the project to not happen in Vegas this year, the publicly televised announcement for 2022 gives the city hope for what’s to come once we all get through this pandemic.

Baldizan has faith that the city will get through it and is happy that the NFL has this much confidence in Las Vegas to come back stronger in 2022.

Venetian Cancels Reservations Through May 31; Employee Pay Extended

The Venetian Las VegasAs there is no definitive reopening date for casinos in Las Vegas, the Venetian Las Vegas has decided to cancel all reservations through May 31.

The property also announced that Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian, will continue to pay its 9,300 employees through May 17.

Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and billionaire CEO of Las Vegas Sands, says the pandemic is “unlike anything” he’s ever seen throughout his business career.

But while the situation has been testing and unique, to say the least, he assured Sands team members that the company is focused on their health and safety first and foremost, and on supporting each of its host communities in Macao, Singapore, and Las Vegas.

Adelson, in a company letter, expressed his pleasure at announcing the company-wide decision to extend all employee benefits and pay until at least May 17.

He added that his leadership team will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep employees informed of any new updates that come through.

Helping Out Employees in Any Way They Can

The Las Vegas Sands company is among two major casino companies in Clark County who promised to pay its workers through the shutdown. The other company is Wynn Resorts.

Adelson advised that the company will also be covering emergency pay for nearly 1,200 workers that span across 14 different restaurants inside of the Venetian. The way the company is covering emergency costs for salaried employees while providing weekly stipends to hourly and part-time employees.

Las Vegas Sands President and COO Rob Goldstein, said the company is doing the best they can to help out team members and extended family during these difficult and unprecedented times. Saying that this is the time when “we all have to step up.”

Las Vegas Sands Helps Out The Community, Too

On April 1, Las Vegas Sands made out a massive donated of over two million pieces of personal protective equipment, items that are among the most desperately needed throughout this pandemic.

They gave one million medical masks to the country’s coronavirus epicenter, New York City, and one million masks to healthcare facilities throughout Southern Nevada.

They also donated 20,000 protective suits across Nevada’s healthcare industry as well.

Not only were they generous in donating these valuable medical supplies, but Sands has also contributed $250,000 to various local organizations in the community.

Those vital organizations include Three Square, which is Southern Nevada’s largest hunger-relief organization, and Communities in Schools, which provides a way of giving meals to underprivileged students.

They’ve also donated to Share Las Vegas, which is a local program offering assistance to veterans.

Las Vegas Sands Suspends Dividend Program

While Las Vegas Sands has been extremely generous to its workers and the local community throughout this period of economic downfall, it’s also had to come up with a way to offset those economic losses caused by the pandemic.

On April 17, the company announced its decision to suspend its dividend program as a means of holding up the company balance sheet, which will, in turn, add long-term stockholder value.

Adelson is optimistic about the company’s decision to suspend its dividend program, saying that many strategic opportunities will come out of it once the virus is a thing o the past.

Currently, Las Vegas Sands has over $4 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

Eager for the Las Vegas Strip to Return

The Venetian, along with other mega-resort-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, is eager to reopen their doors once it’s safe to do so and Gov. Steve Sisolak gives the green light.

We’re unsure exactly when that date might be, as the Governor recently released a phased reopening plan which calls for the close monitoring of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for the next 14 days.

Should those numbers be on the decline, the state can move onto Phase One of reopening.

The Las Vegas Strip will likely look a lot different once it’s reopened, with many casino executives discussing their ideas of coronavirus safety measures.

Some of those measurements include thermal screenings of guests and social distancing guidelines on casino floors.

Stay Tuned

It’s currently a waiting game to see when Las Vegas will return, but we’re confident that when it does, the proper measures will be put into place.

We know one thing for sure, we’re eager to get back to a pre-COVID-19 world and look forward to welcoming guests back to Las Vegas.

How much longer do you think the shutdown in Nevada will last? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Las Vegas Announced as Host for 2022 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Digital LogoThe anticipation for Las Vegas to host the NFL Draft for the very first time in history was huge among the local community and tourists anxious to see their favorite town host a major sports event.

But unfortunately, Las Vegas didn’t get a chance to properly host the NFL Draft this year with the global coronavirus pandemic putting a halt to the city and much of the sport’s world for that matter.

Instead, Vegas will get to host the highly-anticipated yearly event in the near future.

The National Football League announced on Thursday night that Las Vegas will host the 2020 NFL Draft. This announcement was made during the draft’s current installment, which is being held as a fully virtual event.

Commissioner Roger Goodell mistakenly made a small flub during the announcement, when he said that Las Vegas would host the 2020 draft, but quickly cleared up the statement to reflect the 2022 date.

“Congratulations to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the Raiders’ organization and Raider Nation,” Goodell said.

Main Stage and Setup Plans for 2022 Draft

Some of the setup plans that were approved for what would have been the 2020 Draft in Vegas will seemingly carry over to 2022.

That includes the main stage of the NFL Draft being built adjacent to the Caesar’s Forum Conference Center, which will sit pretty next to the High Roller observation wheel.

The main stage will also host the Selection Square.

Talks are still in place of a red carpet being unveiled on the Fountains of Bellagio, which will make for the most picturesque and dramatic scene of the Draft. Prospects would be ferried to-and-from the stage via a boat.

In addition to the annual draft event, a three-day NFL Draft Experience will be available at the NFL Draft main stage. The free, football-themed festival event will feature games, autograph sessions, and giveaways.

Steve Hill, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says the city, while disappointed about being unable to bring the “exciting event to life this year,” is thrilled to be given the opportunity to host the 2022 NFL Draft.

Hill says they plan on making the 87th annual NFL Draft an ‘only Vegas’ experience that football fans will “never forget.”

More plans for the 2022 draft will be announced in the coming months, so be sure to stay tuned for those exciting announcements.

2020 NFL Draft Goes Virtual

With sports being on a global hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL came up with the best next solution for the 2020 NFL Draft: Going virtual.

And fans are here for it.

The 2020 NFL Draft kicked off on Thursday night, and sports fans took to social media to share their excitement over the first round of picks.

Goodell even got in on the action by making a TikTok video to Drake’s “Tootsie Slide” with former Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. Consider it the virtual equivalent to draftees giving the commissioner a customary hug.

Jeudy went off the board to No. 15 overall to the Denver Broncos during Thursday night’s NFL Draft picks.

Raiders 2020 NFL Draft Promising Picks

The Las Vegas Raiders got probably the most exciting addition to their team thus far by selecting Henry Ruggs III. Ruggs is measured as the fastest player in the NFL Draft.

His addition will make for an already impressive Raiders offense that includes Josh Jacobs, Tyrell Williams, Trent Brown, Hunter Renfrow, Rodney Hudson, Darren Waller, and Derek Carr.

The Raiders also acquired Damon Arnette, a promising cornerback who saw his draft stock climb in the days leading up to the draft. While Arnette played with a broken wrist all last season, he also earned All-Big-10 honors during his senior season.

Hard Rock CEO: ‘A Year’ Until Casinos Operate at Full Capacity

Hard Rock International HotelJim Allen, the chairman of Hard Rock International, one of the largest gaming companies in the world, told reporters on Wednesday that he believes it will be a while until casinos in the US operate at pre-COVID-19 levels.

That’s a hefty statement, considering the impact the coronavirus pandemic has made on the casino economy thus far, and it’s been less than a few months since the outbreak came onto the scene in the states.

According to Allen, he believes some regional casinos will be able to bounce back faster once the country opens casinos back up, but the tourism industry altogether will likely suffer for an extended period of time.

Allen says it will be a “real challenge” to ramp business back up, especially in the United States. His company is planning on losing a year of normal business until “business as usual” can return in the casino world.

Examining the Reopening Levels at Hard Rock’s China Property

If Hard Rock International’s reopening levels at their Asia property are any indication of what business might look like back in the states, the outlook is pretty grim.

Hard Rock’s hotel in Shenzen, a city right outside of Hong Kong, has been reopened for close to a month and its operating level is only at 12 percent capacity.

China was the first country to enact a total closure of casinos back in February, which lasted for 15 days. This was during the time that the virus was contained in China and they were dealing with proactive measures to slow the spread of it. Their casinos have since reopened.

Florida Properties Offer Most Hopeful Outlook

Allen says the company’s most profitable properties are its six casinos in Florida. Allen calls these properties “regional business,” explaining that casinos that will be able to attract visitors through car travel versus travel by plane have a better shot of rebounding quicker.

While it’s exciting to see people flocking to be back on Florida beaches, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recent reopening of them, Allen believes the crowd is due more to the get-out-of-the-house push, and not indicative of the boom his casinos will see in the state.

However, Allen believes that casinos will take the proper precautions and necessary steps to ensure guests feel safe when they are able to visit again.

Allen advised that Hard Rock’s Florida properties were doing a lot more than social distancing during its final days of operation before the nationwide shutdown of casinos.

They had one slot machine on and four off at one time, and only three players at gaming tables.

Casinos Are Developing Safety Measures for Opening Back Up

In order for casinos to maintain a sense of normalcy when things open back up, in terms of guest volume, casino operators will need to ramp up safety measures to make guests feel as safe as possible.

Casino executives in Las Vegas are already outlining their new coronavirus safety measures, including Wynn Resorts.

Wynn says they plan on using thermal screening on guests to track internal body temperature, having dealers wear masks, and putting a seat of distance in between gaming table and slot players.

Stay Tuned

A year seems like a long time for things to return to normal, but right now all we know is this “new normal” that’s come along with the pandemic.

We’re curious: Do you agree with the Hard Rock CEO’s estimate that it will take a year for casinos to operate at full capacity again?

We’d love to know your insight. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

LV Entertainers Come Together for an Inspirational Digital Performance

Las Vegas Performers Singing "Needing Each Other" on YouTubeWhen the Las Vegas Strip went dark on March 11 to help stop the spread of COVID-19, it forced hundreds of thousands of Las Vegas industry workers and hundreds of entertainers alike off the stage.

Numerous Las Vegas Strip shows were either canceled or postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic, putting many local performers out of work. But, as they say in show business, “The show must go on.”

Amid the coronavirus crises, which has particularly impacted Las Vegas’ economy, dozens of Las Vegas entertainers joined in on a collaborative digital effort to spread joy to everyone affected by the outbreak.

Performers sang a unique part of “Needing Each Other,” an original written and produced by Keith Thompson, the musical director of “Jersey Boys” and founder/host of The Composers Showcase at the Smith Center.

Nearly 100 Las Vegas performers came together remotely to sing parts of the original song, which they then submitted to create the full version, which you can view below.

The video is 16:16 minutes long and begins with news clips detailing information about the COVID-19 outbreak in Clark County. It then features a message about the Las Vegas performing arts community coming together through social media to support one another through music.

Vegas Lights Up with Inspirational Messages

The city of Las Vegas as a whole has been showing support to its community in numerous ways.

Recently, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore lit up to showcase a giant heart and the uplifting message “HOPE SHINES BRIGHT” which can be seen nightly.

The Venetian is also lit up with the simple, but powerful message of “LOVE.”

Other casinos have been displaying hopeful messages through their marquee signs, such as MGM Resorts “We don’t have to be together to stand together. The show will go on,” sign.

Casinos Contribute to the Community in Big Ways

Even though the casino industry has been rocked by the pandemic, it hasn’t stopped major operators from using their resources to lend a huge helping hand to those in need during these challenging times.

Wynn Resorts, for one, donated more than $2.5 million in goods to local medical facilities and nonprofits. Those goods include personal protective equipment and pallets of food to 15 food banks in Las Vegas and three food banks in Boston.

Caesars Entertainment supplied more than 250,000 pounds of food, of 208,000 meals, to various food banks and charities. The company also supplies thousands of critical medical items, like gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer, to local healthcare facilities and first responders.

MGM Resorts International donated 400,000 meals to various communities it operates in nationwide. As well as providing meals, the company donated $1 million to its Employee Emergency fund, which serves to provide financial aid to workers in critical times of need.

Not only that, but Vegas headliners also showed their heart for philanthropy by helping MGM’s Employee Emergency grant fund reach an incredible $11 million.

Some of those generous headliners include David Copperfield, Jay Leno, the Jabbawockeez, Shin Lim and more. Bruno Mars, who was in the midst of his Las Vegas residency at Park MGM, donated $1 million to the fund as well.

Vegas Stronger

We absolutely love seeing good news like this.

It’s especially uplifting to see a city who has been impacted the most, economy-wise, step up and lend a helping hand to its neighbors.

Everyone needs a little bit of hope and encouragement during this time. We hope this video of local entertainers performing an original song helped raise your spirits!

What good news have you been seeing going on in your local community? We’d love to hear about people helping out during this time of need.

Please share your stories with us in the comments below!

‘We’re Not Test Subjects, We’re People’: LV Workers Respond to Mayor’s Call to Reopen City

Las Vegas Strip, Cars Driving Down Las Vegas BoulevardSince Gov. Steve Sisolak mandated the initial statewide shutdown of casinos back in early March, and further went on to extend the shutdown to April 30, Mayor Carolyn Goodman has been trying to fight it and get the city reopened this entire time.

After Sisolak’s latest press conference detailing Nevada’s plan for a phased reopening, Goodman fired back yet again, calling for a swift reopening of hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.

Goodman’s argument has been that industry workers will not be able to survive a shutdown and that it will impact their livelihoods on too grand of a scale.

While Goodman has argued against the closures, she hasn’t provided any reopening guidelines of safety measures that would stop or slow the spread of COVID-19, and Las Vegas workers are not feeling protected or considered by the Mayor’s adamant calls to reopen.

The most troubling comments made by Mayor Goodman surfaced in her Wednesday CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. Goodman said she would be willing to lift the coronavirus lockdown in Las Vegas and have the city serve as a “national experiment.”

Goodman said that she would love for Las Vegas to be the “placebo side” so Anderson and essentially the rest of the country had something to “measure against.”

This, of course, sparked outrage among Las Vegas industry workers.

Casino Workers Fire Back

Industry workers across the valley, those who work in the casinos and nightlife, say they would not be happy to be used as an experiment in how lifting lockdown measures would look like, despite the Mayor’s claim the Las Vegas would be happy to serve as the guinea pig.

In the Anderson Cooper interview, she referred to Las Vegas workers as a “control group” to be offered up to prove a point against Anderson’s argument that social distancing helped to keep Las Vegas number of COVID-19 relatively low compared to what they could have been had the shutdown not happen.

Taylor, the president of UNITE Here, a union that represents hundreds of thousands of hospitality workers throughout the US, called Goodman’s comments one of the “worst things” he’s even heard.

Taylor expressed that while he’s been eager to get back to work as soon as everyone is able to, people want to get back to a workspace that is “safe and secure,” and not be test subjects in a petri dish experiment.

Goodman’s comments also “struck a nerve” with banquet bartenders working with the Caesar Forum Conference Center. One bartender, Alexander Acosta, said:

“We’re not test subjects. We’re people. We are employees. We try to live every day as we can. We shouldn’t be test subjects.”

SEIU Local 1107, a union representing 9,000 healthcare workers in Nevada, was also offended by Goodman’s comments and offered some criticism. A spokesperson for the union said Goodman appeared to treat city workers like “guinea pigs.”

According to the SEIU spokesperson, the suggestion to endanger more lives by treating Las Vegas “like a guinea pig in some wild experiment” exhibits an extreme level of ignorance toward the COVID-19 situation as a whole.

Goodman Offered No Solutions for Casino Measurements

In the CNN interview, Anderson Cooper pointed out the fact that while Mayor Goodman has been a “cheerleader” for the reopening Nevada movement, she’s not actually put any suggestions or measured into place for how casinos will operate once they reopen.

Goodman’s response to Anderson’s claim was that it’s up to the casinos to figure out what precautions and measures they will need to put into place, adding that she doesn’t own a casino.

It’s important for casinos to come up with the right reopening measures because it will allow both workers and guests to feel comfortable returned once the shutdown is lifted.

According to Gov. Sisolak, Las Vegas will open when the time is right. Adding that he and his team have been working around the clock to make sure that Las Vegas isn’t just the world’s most fun destination, but the safest at that.

Wynn Resorts and other casino executives recently detailed their reopening plans and what measures they would likely implement.

Those measures include thermal screenings of guests, that will show if their body temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and social distancing of guests and gamblers, among other measures.

Social Distancing has helped ‘Flatten the Curve’ in Nevada

Speaking of social distancing, the Governor praised Nevadans at his Tuesday press conference for following through on the stay-at-home directive, telling Nevadans that they’ve saved lives.

Currently, Nevada has 4,081 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 172 COVID-19-related deaths.

The Governor and his team of experts explained that if they had not taken the aggressive action to close casinos and nonessential businesses statewide, that the number of coronavirus cases could have been in the tens of thousands.

According to the Governor, Nevada is currently in Phase Zero of its two-phase plan to reopen. Phase Zero will measure the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and people testing positive over a 14-day period to ensure that there is a steady decline before we can move to Phase One.

Casinos Workers Detail What Would Make Them Feel Safe Upon Returning to Work

Some casino workers, like Dee Kenny, a 64-year-old casino security guard who works on the Las Vegas Strip, said that if proper protocols aren’t put into place, she won’t be returning to work until they are.

Kenny, who has underlying health issues and is among the most vulnerable population to the virus, says she wants her employers to provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) and test employees for the virus.

Acosta, the bartender with Caesars, also worries whether he and his colleagues will be provided with the necessary equipment to do their jobs safely. For his specific position, he would need gloves and a mask since he’s in close interaction with guests.

Stay Tuned

It’s been a whirlwind for the Las Vegas Strip and economy over these last six weeks. However, it looks like we’re moving to higher ground with the rate of cases seemingly declining, as well as the healthcare industry being able to handle the number of patients going in and out of their facilities.

Did you catch Mayor Goodman’s CNN Interview? What did you think of the comments she had to make about reopening Nevada? If you haven’t gotten a chance to see it, you can watch it in its entirety below.

What types of safety measures do you think the Strip casinos should put into place when they’re given the green light to open back up?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a line in the comments below!

As always, stay safe and healthy out there.

Gov. Sisolak Plans on Reopening NV in Phases

Nevada Governor SisolakYesterday, the Nevada governor and his team of experts appeared on an evening press conference on Tuesday to advise Nevadans of their plan to reopen the state.

There is no clear reopening date as of now, while the stay-at-home directive still remains in place through April 30. However, Gov. Steve Sisolak did reveal their plan to reopen Nevada once a series of phases are met.

Before detailing the phases, Sisolak thanked Nevada residents for their commitment to staying home, expressing the big part they’ve played in “saving lives” across the Silver State.

Sisolak and his team also explained how the aggressive they took to shut down casinos and nonessential businesses helped to flatten the curve and avoid an even higher number of cases.

Right now, Nevada has 3,937 COVID-19 cases and 163 deaths. Sisolak and his team believe that if they didn’t take action to shut down the state, those numbers would be in the tens of thousands.

Phases Outlined

At the press conference, Sisolak touched on the “reopening framework” in detail, explaining that one phase must be met in entirety before heading into the next phase.

What that means, of course, is that there is no definitive date for reopening until the following measures are met. Sisolak says that while we are in a much better spot than we were six weeks ago, as of right now, we are in Phase Zero.

Phase Zero

In order to move into Phase One, the following conditions must be met first:

  • A consistent, and sustainable, downward trajectory and decrease of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over a 14-day period, as well as a decreased percentage of individuals testing positive.
  • Healthcare facilities and Public Health Systems being able to maintain their capacities without resorting to their crisis standards of care, as well as having an adequate health workforce capacity to administer care and tests to patients.
  • A sustained capability to protect vulnerable populations, in a way that outbreaks will be successfully contained in proper spaces such as health facilities and nursing homes.

Phase One

Once criteria are measured and met in Phase Zero, the state can move onto Phase Two. The following guidance is being recommended for all individuals:

  • All vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place. Updated guidance will be given throughout this time.
  • Nonessential travel will still be recommended, with Nevada’s travel advisory remaining in place.
  • Individuals are being urged to continue using a face-covering whenever out in public.
  • Bars will remain closed.
  • Gatherings of 10 or more are still being prohibited in this phase.

Under Further Review

Specific guidance was also provided for certain employees and employers, including businesses and events that have been canceled because of the state of emergency.

Sisolak’s team is still encouraging employers to continue having their staff members work from home and bring them back to the workspace in phases as well.

The reopening of larger venues, such as restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, and places of worship, as still under review and will not be considered further until the phases have been met.

During the press conference, Sisolak’s team showed diagrams to compare the White House’s recommendations versus the state’s and where the two aligned and where the two differed.

School’s Out for the Rest of the Year

Sisolak announced their decision to keep schools closed for the rest of the school year, with distance learning remaining in place. The decision was made based on federal recommendations.

The Nevada Department of Education said they’ve been working with Sisolak and the U.S. Department of Education to provide flexibility within districts to make distance learning work during this time.

That includes waivers being provided on the federal and State level for assessment requirements and guidance so that high school seniors will be able to graduate on-time.

Stay Tuned

While many Nevadans are eager to reopen, we have more of a baseline on when that date will be, should these important measures be met first.

What do you think of Sisolak’s plan in reopening Nevada? Share your thoughts with us below.

As always, please stay safe, healthy, and inside!

Study Shows Nevada Workers Most Impacted by COVID-19

Las Vegas Table DealerIt’s clear: The coronavirus pandemic has rocked the entire nation’s economy in more ways than one. Sectors like the gaming industry, tourism, and retail have seen their impact more than others. In the same way, some states have been hit much harder than others.

According to a newly-released study, Nevada’s workforce has been the most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a one-two punch, COVID-19 has crippled Nevada’s economy mainly on the account of tourism, followed by the absence of gaming. Last month, Gov. Sisolak mandated the shutdown of the state’s casinos, which effectively put Las Vegas to a halt.

Nevada, as well as Hawaii, lead the country when it comes to their leisure, retail, and hospitality markets. It’s no help that the same markets Nevada is well-known for, are the same markets that have been hit the hardest during the COVID-19 crisis.

Industry Data Comparison for Nevada Versus the Entire Country

Around 35% of jobs in Nevada fall under those three markets, leisure, retail, and hospitality, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Compare that with the statistics of workers for the entire United States. Those who fall under the leisure, retail, and hospitality industries make up 21.3%.

Nevada Economy Hurting Badly

Oxford Economics, an analytics firm, ranked Nevada as second-most impacted state amid the coronavirus pandemic, trailing just behind Maine.

According to the firm, Nevada gets four times more of its gross domestic product from the tourism sector than the nation does altogether.

Yardi Matrix, a real estate research group, estimated that an even higher percentage of Nevada workers are being impacted by their affected industries. The group believes 49 percent of Silver State workers are at risk for job loss, including the construction sector on top of leisure, hospitality, and retail.

‘Operation Nevada’ Protest

Last Saturday, hundreds of Nevada residents in Las Vegas and Carson City joined forces in a peaceful protest against Nevada Gov. Sisolak’s stay-at-home directives, putting pressure on the Governor to reopen the economy sooner.

This protest was held two weeks in a row, and is organized by the conservative political group “Fight for Nevada.”

The group is working to collect signatures in an effort to recall Sisolak’s order. In order for a recall petition to work, it would need to collect close to 244,000 signatures, according to Nevada’s constitution.

The number is equivalent to roughly a quarter of the 976,320 people who partook in Nevada’s general election back in 2018.

Governor Sisolak Relying on Medical Advice for Reopening

While a protest has been organized to recall Gov. Sisolak decision, as well as Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s pleading with the Governor to open the economy back up, Sisolak says he will wait on the direction of medical experts.

Stay Tuned

It’s hard to see how Nevada’s economy has been rocked by this pandemic, and it’s unsure whether the state will reopen its casinos and nonessential businesses back up by April 30, the currently scheduled reopening date.

We will just have to wait and see what medical advice Governor Sisolak is given and go from there.

When do you think Nevada’s economy will open back up? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

High-Speed Rail Project Awaiting NV Bond Approval

VIrgin Trains USAJust last week, California approved $600 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Las Vegas-to-Southern California high-speed rail project by Virgin Trains USA.

The train, which will be the first-of-its-kind in the US, was already granted $2.4 billion in private equity bonds, but California’s bond approval marked the project’s biggest leap forward yet.

And last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved $1 billion in bonds that would go toward the highly-anticipated project.

The last major milestone in the high-speed rail development will be approval of Nevada’s bond.

Should Nevada approve the bond in a timely manner, the project will begin by the end of 2020. The service is expected to begin operations near the end of 2023.

Las Vegas Will Benefit from High-Speed Rail

Las Vegas will likely see an increase in visitors coming from Southern California, especially those who are looking to make a weekend trip and not have to deal with the traffic on Interstate 15 heading there and back.

Because of the expected increase in Southern California visitors, Virgin plans to strike deals with Las Vegas resorts and convention centers to make the trip more convenient and streamlined for the traveler before they even set foot on the train to Sin City.

According to Virgin Trains, they expect the high-speed train service will generate $1.98 billion in direct economic impact for Nevada. The company estimates it will create $73 million in state and local tax revenue each year.

Environmental Impact of Rail Service

Not only will the modern rail service create a major boost in Nevada’s economy, it’s also expected to make the air a little cleaner on I-15. Through the rail service, it will remove an estimated 4.5 million cars from Interstate 15 yearly.

That means that an impressive 300,000 metric tons of carbon will be effectively taken out of the air, according to an analysis report by Virgin Trains.

Rail Line Details; Route and Amenities

Currently, the rail will be built out to go from Las Vegas, at a starting location near the South Premium Outlet Mall, to Victorville, California, where the rail line to end initially.

Future expansion details are looking to take the train route from Victorville to downtown Los Angeles. This will make it convenient for travelers coming from Las Vegas, as it will eliminate having to come up with a way to get from the Victor Valley to Los Angeles proper.

The trains will be able to carry up to 600 people and get passengers between Las Vegas and Victorville within 90 minutes since it’ll be moving at a speed of up to 180 mph.

The high-speed train will also feature amenities on board, including food and beverage service.

About Virgin Trains USA

Known as Brightline rail service until mid-2020, Virgin Trains USA is an inner-city rail system in the US that was recently introduced to build privately-funded passenger systems in locations in the US.

It began operating in Jan. 2018. Fortress Investment Group owns and operates the rail system, and is currently the only privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail system in the states.

 

Should a Fan-less NBA Season Resume, Las Vegas Event Could Serve as the Example

Basketball Player Shooting a Basket in GymWhile the NBA season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league has been in talks of possibly resuming the season in Las Vegas, minus the packed arenas.

Should the NBA find the way to go through with it, an annually held Las Vegas fan-less event could serve as the blueprint.

The event? The NBA’s annual G League Winter Showcase held December 2018 and December 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The event, which serves as a scouting showcase for league executives, holds various games daily over a four-day period without fans present.

The G League Winter Showcase, which displays the talents of dozens of hopeful players, is held a month prior to January’s 10-day signing period.

These games were closed off to the public and only kept open for team and league staff members, agents, media personnel, and close family and friends of the players.

A Seemingly ‘Seamless’ System

While players typically get revved up from the energy of live crowds, players at the G League Winter Showcase had to look inward to pep up their own performance.

But while it was a challenge at first, players said that after the first couple of possessions, the games started to feel like normal games.

Aaron Magner, who works with Eventuris, a company that provides staffing for the G League Showcase, the games, although different, didn’t feel awkward. Magner said that’s because the games were produced so well, especially for it being such a unique playing experience.

The setup went like this: Four courts were built inside of Mandalay Bay’s Convention Center divided by a partition to allow play on either side to allow games to go on simultaneously.

League members, media staff, and close friends and family were even given assigned seating along the sideline, or on the risers along the baseline, both seating arrangements on the opposite side of players’ benches.

Music was played during timeouts or long stoppages during play, but outside of that, the only noises throughout the games were organic basketball sounds, like dribbling, players communicating to one another during the game, or shoes squeaking on the court.

NBA Season Suspended in March

When Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, it caused the NBA season to come to a screeching halt on March 11.

Initially, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would be on a 30-day hiatus at the time he announced the shutdown, but it’s gone on longer than that and it’s still uncertain if it will be able to return in 2020.

The NBA was the first major professional sports’ league that suspended its season and ushered in the remaining leagues to suspend their seasons too, including NHL and MLB.

Sports’ suspensions came at an interesting time outside of the coronavirus outbreak, as many more states were just expanding their legalized options for sports betting.

League ‘Not in a Position to Make Any Decisions’

According to a comment Silver made during the NBA Board of Governors meeting held April 17, the league isn’t in any position to make any decisions at the present time, and there’s no telling when they will be.

When it comes to “bubble-like concepts,” like holding NBA games without fans present, Silver says the league isn’t seriously engaged to that particular kind of environment, given the fluidity and uncertainty of the outbreak’s nature.

The league is prioritizing human life over anything else, and that’s where the conversation began and ended during the board meeting.

Fanless Sports; Viable Solution in Bringing Resuming Sports

According to the testimony of some players at the G League Winter Showcase, a fan-less event setup would be a good solution in slowly reintroducing sports amid this pandemic. No fans? No issue.

The transition would be a seamless one because the schedule could work efficiently.

The games would start as scheduled, and players would leave the facility promptly once their games finish up. The absence of fans means the avoidance of unnecessary contact with more people than what’s required to get these games played and filmed.

Important April NBA Updates

April 17: According to sources close to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and NBPA are working on closing a plan that will withhold 25 percent of every player’s paycheck in the league, starting May 15.

April 14: The Chinese Basketball Association is reportedly looking to postpone their calendar again until July. The association has been on hold since January 24.

April 13: Potential protocols that would get players ready for games are being discussed by league executive and team medical staff. A proposed plan under the new protocols would possibly include a 25-day program that players would undergo before they’re allowed game-play.

April 10: NBA teams come together in a play to encourage the league’s office to push the NBA draft date back from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1.

April 9: While no games have been played for a month at this point, NBA players receive their full check. For most players, that pay date was April 15.

April 6: For weeks, NBA and NBPA officials have been collaborating in checking the accuracy of multiple blood-testing devices for COVID-19 that would allow the league to track the virus in players. This is being considered the first step is allowing play to resume.

April 6: NBA lets teams know that organizations will not be allowed to conduct in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice. Teams are, however, allowed to hold virtual interviews with draft prospects, but lasting no longer than four hours for any single player.

April 1: 15 days after Brooklyn Nets announced that four of their players had tested positive for coronavirus, the team’s general manager, Sean Marks, announced that the team’s roster is now completely free from COVID-19-related symptoms.

Stay Tuned

We’re sure most of the world is missing professional basketball during this time of quarantine, but we’re not sure what the league will do next when it comes to coming up with a possible solution to resume play.

Whether that be holding games in a fan-less facility and location like Las Vegas, or waiting until the storm of the outbreak completely blows over, we will just have to wait on the official word from the league.

Weigh-in: Do you think fan-less sports be the best solution for bringing back sports, slowly but surely? Let us know what you think about the idea in the comments below!

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Raise $1.7M for Food Banks Through Online Celebrity Poker Tournament

Poker Cards Falling onto TableIn today’s bit of good news, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have raised $1.75 million through an online celebrity poker tournament they headed up. Thank you, fellas!

The All in For America’s Charity poker tournament had a $10,000 buy-in and featured a star-studded line up of players.

Some entrants included NFL star player Tom Brady, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, leading man Adam Sandler, actresses Sarah Silverman and Cheryl Hines, Maroon 5 front-man Adam Levine, actors Jason Bateman, Jon Hamm, Tobey Maguire, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith and more.

The poker tournament raised the funds for Feeding America, which is a nonprofit that has been providing food to the needy throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Professional poker player and Twitch streamer Ebony Kenney came out on top against veteran actor Kevin Pollak in The All in For America’s charity event.

Brian Cranston made an impressive play, finishing in fifth place overall. Tobey Maguire was also a top player in the event.

The Texas Holdem tournament was hosted by professional poker commentators Justin Kelly and Michael Loncar on Twitch.

A Hollywood Helping Hand for Feeding America

Ben Affleck took to his Instagram earlier this week to announce the charity event, sharing his excitement over partnering with Feeding America on this noble cause during a time when people need hunger-relief the most.

Hollywood Stars Who Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

The virus hasn’t skipped over Hollywood’s brightest stars.

Notable names who have tested positive for COVID-19 include Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Idris Elba. Other celebrities include Olga Kurylenko, Debi Mazar and Rachel Matthews; and actors Kristofer Hivju and Daniel Dae Kim.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Hollywood

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted normal life on so many different levels, and the entertainment landscape is no exception.

From the postponement of many major theatrical releases, like Ben Affleck’s ‘Hypnotic’ that has production paused, to film festivals, TV conferences, live shows and more, COVID-19 has put Hollywood on a major standstill.

Luckily, many celebrities, especially musicians and famous DJ’s, have been going ‘live’ on Instagram to perform for their fans during this time of self-quarantine at home.

Celebrities’ Philanthropic Efforts throughout the Coronavirus Crisis

Since April 14, a slew of celebrities have participated in the All in Challenge, a digital fundraiser that was started by Fanatics, a sports retail company.

100 percent of the proceeds raised by the fundraiser are mainly being donated to America’s Food Fund, a hunger relief organization cofounded by Leonardo DiCaprio, with support also given to Meals on Wheels and No Kid Hungry.

The All In Challenge can take one of two approaches. One, celebrities can either urge their fans to donate money in exchange for a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to meet the star. Two, fans can donate in an auction-exchange for the famous figures’ prized possessions.

So far, the fundraised has raised an incredible $11,023,750. To bid on auction items and experiences, check out their official fundraising page.

About Feeding America

Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. The organization works with individuals, charities, businesses and government to help end hunger in the places and areas of most need.

For over 40 years, Feeding America has responded to the needs of individuals struggling with food insecurity in America, and fight daily to accomplish their mission of ending the fight against hunger nationwide.

About America’s Food Fund

Founded by Leonardo DiCaprio, Emerson Collective, Apple, and the Ford Foundation, America’s Food Fund was launched with the goal of helping people all across the country have reliable access to food.

Social Distancing Might Last for Months; Will Take Awhile for Las Vegas to Return to Normal

Las Vegas StripAlthough the mandated casino closures, which turned the Entertainment Capital of the World into a ghost town, is scheduled to be lifted April 30, it will likely take a while for things to return to normal on the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas Boulevard went from being a buzzing, tourist-filled street with lights and sounds glaring everywhere, to a quiet street with empty sidewalks and the occasional jogger or skateboarder taking in the odd sight of a calm Strip.

Cars are still taking the scenic route down the Strip, but traffic is obsolete. In fact, it’s so quiet you can hear the birds sing. A family of ducks was even seen taking a stroll down the empty road a few weeks ago.

According to Alan Feldman, a member of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, the thinking that lends itself to believing Las Vegas will reopen at once is “absolutely not going to happen.”

If Las Vegas were to reopen at once, many industry leaders believe that guests won’t be coming in flocks. At least not anytime soon…

Social Distancing Could Last Months

In a city that is built on tourism, it’s safe to assume that social distancing could last for months in Las Vegas.

Why so? Because with the coronavirus situation still fluid, and no telling whether we’re at the outbreaks’ peak or not, individuals will likely ere on the side of caution.

That means for places that are prone to hosting crowds, in order for people to feel safe, there will need to be social distancing measures that every visitor or local is actively participating in.

Casino executives are even preparing new coronavirus safety measures for when casinos do reopen to the public, and those measures will take social distancing guidelines into account.

Those measures include having a seat in between gamblers playing slots of at tables, dealers wearing masks, fewer accessible casino entrances, and non-invasive methods of checking visitor’s temperature upon entry.

Business Reopenings Won’t Happen Quickly, According to NV Governor

While Gov. Sisolak has faced some harsh criticism and pleads from Las Vegas Mayor Goodman, who calls the shutdown ‘total insanity’ while urging the Governor to reopen, the Governor is saying it’s a no-go until medical health experts give the green light.

Although the economy has taken a drastic hit, Gov. Sisolak says he is prioritizing the lives of his fellow Nevadans over dollars.

With that said, that means that businesses will likely have a long road to recovery before things return to the normal that was experienced at the beginning of this year.

Not a comforting thing to hear, but more realistic based on the nature of the pandemic.

On Thursday night, Sisolak says that he doesn’t have a benchmark date for when businesses will open back up, stating that if they open prematurely, it will hurt the economy more than help it in the long run.

Stay Tuned

Right now, Las Vegas is adjusting to its “new normal” until things can return to normal.

It’s hard to see the industry and businesses across the valley hurting, but we also know it’s for the best in the fight against the coronavirus crisis.

All we know is, Las Vegas will bounce back and return to its former glory just as soon as it’s able to, and once is does, we hope to see you there.

Please stay safe and healthy in the meantime, everyone! And check back for the latest coronavirus coverage.

Las Vegas Mayor Calls Shut Down ‘Total Insanity’; Urges Governor to Reopen

Mayor Carolyn GoodmanOn Wednesday’s city council meeting, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman once again urged Nevada Governor Sisolak to open the state back up for business so residents can get back on the road to economic recovery.

In the council meeting, Goodman said the shutdown has become one of “total insanity.” Goodman made the strong statement after explaining how there was no plan put into place in how the state would navigate through the shutdown, or how to come out of it.

Goodman used experts’ comments to defend her statement, bringing up the consensus that the coronavirus will be around for a long time and that thus far, the virus has “only killed less than 0.5 percent of the state population.”

Coronavirus Cases in Nevada

In Nevada, there are currently 2,836 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 112 deaths. Clark County has made up the majority of those cases, with 2,559 reported cases.

According to Goodman, the low death count doesn’t support the statewide shutdown of casinos and non-essential businesses.

Gov. Sisosal advised that The Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL) has around 5,000 tests on hand, with the capacity to run 400 tests per day.

Dr. Mark Pandori, the director of NSPHL, said that while they have current testing capabilities, they will need a whole lot more in able to test the way they want and need to in the state.

How Nevada’s Economy has been Impacted by COVID-19

With the mandated shutdown order that kicked into effect mid-March, 900,000 of Nevada’s 3.2 million residents have lost their jobs. A third of those 900,000 who have lost their jobs have applied for unemployment, breaking records for Nevada’s highest amount of claims.

The previous high of unemployment claims filed was recorded at 8,945 for the weekend ending January 10, 2009. The current pandemic has blown that number out of the water.

Since March, 300,000 Nevadans have filed for unemployment, and there are record highs going on across the country.

Goodman expressed her frustration further, saying that being shut down is “killing Las Vegas,” adding that it’s tearing down the industry, tourism, convention business and everything else that we’ve all worked so hard to build.

She added that the longer it takes for the city to reopen, the longer it will take to rebuild and recover.

Mayor’s Continued Plea with the Governor

Goodman has pleaded with the Governor before, when the mandate was first put into place. She explained that Nevada residents would not be able to survive a shutdown of this magnitude “beyond the immediate week or two.”

In her statement, she further added that “we cannot continue to keep our heads in the sand and think it’s going away.”

Goodman argued that Nevadans know how to take the precautions necessary to fight the spread of the disease, like adequately washing our hands and keeping our space from one another.

“Please, governor,” she continued, “we need to be able to live our lives, support our families and, yes, keep Nevada strong, but together.”

Governor Sisolak Will Rely on Expert Medical Advice to Reopen

Despite the Mayor’s adamant pleas to the governor, Gov. Sisolak says he will not be influenced by other politician’s opinions to reopen and will rely strictly on experts’ medical advice in reopening the state.

“I’m not going to respond to those comments or attacks that are made of me or my decisions. I can tell you that I spend 24 hours a day, my wife can tell you I don’t sleep well anymore, analyzing these decisions,” Sisolak said.

Sisolak sympathized with Nevadans, saying he knows it isn’t easy to stay home during this quarantine lockdown. But, he added that it’s even tougher to swallow seeing Nevadans die because of this deadly outbreak.

The governor says he is prioritizing the lives of his fellow Nevadans over any dollars, and that he will open the state back up at the right time, once it’s been carefully considered safe to do so by health experts.

Currently, there is no definitive reopening date, although the shutdown was set to last until April 30.

Stay Tuned

It’s hard to estimate whether the state will be re-opening by the end of the month, but casino operators are eager to do so and have even been coming up with new coronavirus safety measures to use once casinos get to fully operate again.

With the coronavirus pandemic situation still fluid, it’s hard to tell how the end of the month will go for Nevada.

Be sure to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage updates.

As always, stay safe, stay sane, and stay healthy!

Las Vegas Sands Company Suspends Dividend Program

The Venetian Las VegasBecause of the impact the coronavirus crisis has made on Las Vegas’ economy, Las Vegas Sands made the decision to suspend its dividend program, according to a statement made on Thursday from Sheldon Adelson, the company’s Chairman and CEO.

The decision was made with strong consideration of how well their balance sheet would fare, with Adelson calling it a “necessary component” when it comes to long-term stockholder value.

Adelson, who is the largest shareholder of Las Vegas Sands company, assured the public that his goals and interests are “directly aligned” with the interest of every shareholder. It’s through their balance sheet that Adelson believes the company will bounce back victoriously from the virus’ impacts.

Those interests are future-oriented and optimistic, according to Adelson. The company foresees many strategic opportunities coming out of its decision to suspend the dividend and looks forward to watching those opportunities come to life once the virus is out of the question.

Adelson also added that the company will revisit the dividend suspension whenever the first reasonable window presents itself.

Company’s Most Recent Dividend

The company’s latest dividend was recorded on Jan. 29. During that last dividend, quarterly dividends of $0.79 per share were taking place.

That’s a lot lower than their 2019 amount per share for dividends, which was $3.08 per share.

Back in 2019, Las Vegas Sands board of directors announced their plans to raise the company’s recurring common stock dividend .10 cents higher, to $3.16 per share in 2020. This is according to filing information found on the Securities and Exchange Commission.

COVID-19 Impact on Las Vegas Sands Corp.

In Adelson’s statement, he explained how in his over seventy years in business, that he’s never seen anything like the economic impact caused by the coronavirus crisis on their business, calling it “unprecedented.”

In March, shares of casino giant Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) fell 27.2%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. In April, shares dropped 10.7%.

Luckily, Las Vegas Sands has over $4 billion of cash on its balance sheet. That’s good news, along with the fact that the company’s Asia properties are open for business (In February, their properties closed for 15 days before reopening).

If the company’s Macau and Singapore properties are able to able to bring in cash flow during this time, it could be the financial support that could bridge in the gap of losses being incurred on the American properties’ front.

Uncontrollable Factors

While we’re glad that Las Vegas Sands is taking a resourceful and optimistic approach to the economic downfall caused by COVID-19, we do understand that for things to look back up for the industry, it will depend on several uncontrollable factors.

Some of those factors include the extent and duration of the outbreak, the response of government authorities, general economic conditions, operational results, cash flows, development processes, liquidity and more.

COVID-19 Impact on Las Vegas as a Whole

A recent study found that Nevada’s economy ranked as the second most vulnerable in the country after Maine.

It makes sense. The town is built around tourism and gaming, and with social distancing guidelines in full effect, it cancels out the reality of a traditional Vegas in the meantime.

Traditional Vegas which like droves of crowds gathered together, walking on the Las Vegas Strip and admiring the sites, gamblers going in and out of casinos, touching slot machines and playing at table games and what have you.

The Vegas we all know and love simply could not exist during a global pandemic on this scale. With casinos closed and nonessential businesses shuttered, it helps to avoid a possible disastrous spread of the virus.

Las Vegas Sands Still Serving as a Major Community Aid During Crisis

While Las Vegas Sands has been hit hard by the pandemic, much like every other major casino operator in Las Vegas and the rest of the country, the company has still found ways to support the community in big ways.

On April 1, the company announced they would be donating two million pieces of protective personal equipment (PPE) to Nevada and New York.

They sent one million masks each to each state and provided the local healthcare industry with 20,000 protective suits.

The company also pledges to give $250,000 to local organizations that help in providing food and other vital supplies to individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

About Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The Las Vegas Sands Company is an American casino and resort company based in Paradise, Nevada.

It includes world-famous US properties The Venetian, The Palazzo, Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, as well as its overseas Asian properties in Macau and Singapore, including Sands Macao, The Venetian Macau, The Plaza Macao, The Parisian Macao, Marina Bay Sands, and Sands Cotai Central.

Stay Tuned

With the casino closures lasting until April 30, unless Gov. Sisolak decides to further extend the order, it’s no surprise that casino operators are looking for resourceful ways to keep themselves afloat amid the economic downfall caused by COVID-19.

We hope that casinos not only in Las Vegas but the rest of the country will be able to come back strong and in good standing once everything blows over and returns to normal.

Until then, we’re keeping the faith and staying on top of the coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Be sure to keep checking back for updates to see how the situation will continue to unfold in Sin City.

Off-Strip Las Vegas Hotel Offers ‘Quarantine Getaway’

Artisan Hotel in Las VegasGetting cabin fever yet? With many of Las Vegas residents stuck at home, it’s easy to see why a lot of people would want to self-quarantine elsewhere.

Being home for an extended period of time with family, partners, or roommates because of the quarantine orders may have brought some tensions to the surface.

While the Las Vegas Strip and casinos across the entire valley are shut down, some off-Strip hotel properties have remained open for weary travelers who have been on the road, those who need another place to sleep, or for our frontline workers as a place of respite.

So, if you’re in desperate need of a change of scenery during this shelter in place, the Artisan Hotel awaits you!

A Unique ‘Quarantine Getaway’ Spin

For locals, they can enjoy a ‘quarantine getaway’ at the Artisan for just $39 a night, and it doesn’t end there. Their stay will come with a complimentary bottle of wine, and, you guessed it, a bathroom equipped with toilet paper.

Their tongue-in-cheek getaway promotion that’s advertising free toilet paper and a bottle of wine is a unique spin indeed, but also completely serious.

On their social media accounts and through other advertisement avenues, their slogan reads:

“Quarantine and chill gone wrong? We have a room for you…and your new boo” and “We got your butt covered. Toilet paper included with room.”

Michael Crandall, VP of the Siegel Group, who owns Artisan Hotel, says that if anyone is looking for a play to stay and “quarantine for the night” to get away, that they are there for you, and that you are safe.

Hotel’s Safety Measures

To keep guests safe during their stay amid the coronavirus pandemic, there will be a limited number of staff at hand at the front desk and other areas of the hotel.

Common areas will be cleaned and sanitized multiple times throughout the day, to ensure guest safety, and housekeepers will only enter vacant rooms.

These health and safety measures could be a precursor of what’s in the Strip’s future when it reopens. In fact, casino executives are in talks now about new coronavirus safety measures to implement once the Governor gives the green light to open things back up.

About Artisan Hotel

The Artisan Hotel is known for its stylish and unique room and suites, where no two rooms or suites are alike. Each room has its own theme equipped with modern artwork and its own air of mystery.

Artisan Hotel is located at 1501 W. Sahara Ave, right off of the I-15. To make a reservation, call (702) 214-4000 or visit their website at https://artisanhotel.com/.

Las Vegas Casinos Discuss Coronavirus Safety Measures for Reopening

Las Vegas Strip in Black & WhiteWith the projected reopening date of April 30 for Las Vegas casinos, casino executives are getting anxious and discussing new safety measures to implement amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Those potential new measures will take social distancing guidelines into account.

For example, gamblers will be required to have a chair in between them when playing. Other measures include fewer entrances into casinos, and visitors getting their temperatures checked when coming into the casino.

According to sources, those temperature checks will involve noninvasive measures.

The topic of creating facilities close to the casinos that will test employees for COVID-19 is also up for discussion.

Executives haven’t made mention as to when they expect casinos to reopen, as it will depend on Gov. Sisolak’s green light, but they are eagerly looking forward to reopening their doors.

Following in Macau’s Example Post-Closures

Macau was the first place on the globe that shuttered its casino doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The city stayed in gaming and tourism lockdown for 15 days. Back when this happened, it was still unimaginable to think that the Las Vegas Strip would inevitably be shut down.

These new measures that are being considered are following in the footsteps of what Macau implemented upon reopening their doors in February. The way Macau’s been handling the coronavirus crisis has been called “calm” and organized.”

Their government ordered 20 million masks once the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the city on Jan. 22. When casinos reopened officially, it was a ‘soft’ reopening that included a slew of health and safety precautions.

Those precautions included gaming guests passing through screening machines, while staff, such as table game dealers, wore medical masks.

Table games were allowed at half capacity, with a seat in between gamblers, which meant for a total capacity for baccarat, blackjack, pai gow and other table games at four players.

Governor Pours ‘Cold Water’ on Reopening Date

While casino executives and operators are eager to reopen their doors to guests again and get things back to normal, Gov. Sisolak has poured cold water on any promising timelines or developments.

As it stands, the casinos are set to reopen April 30, but that could be ambitious considering the state of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Nevada Governor said that the state is nowhere near reopening its doors to guests and gamblers alike.

He assured that the decision to reopen will not be a political one, but one that’s been carefully determined by medical health experts. According to Sisolak, Nevada will take it “slow and steady” and listen to the doctors.

Factors Taken Into Consideration for Vegas Reopening

For Las Vegas to reopen its doors confidently, it will need to take important factors into consideration first. Those factors include rates of infection and deaths, for not only Nevada but the rest of the country.

Stay Tuned

We might be in what’s considered the peak of the pandemic currently, but time will tell how the outbreak will continue to maneuver.

We are anxiously waiting for Las Vegas to reopen much like tourists and gamblers everywhere. In fact, Las Vegas movies have been trending during this quarantine. People are nostalgic for the magic of Vegas to return.

But, of course, the safety of everyone is paramount at this time. Stay tuned for more news regarding coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas, and stay safe until next time!

Report Finds NV’s Economy Among Most Vulnerable to Impacts from COVID-19

Las Vegas StripIt’s no surprise that with a town that’s built on tourism, gaming, and more recently, sports, that when the coronavirus outbreak began spreading across the country, it would impact Las Vegas in critical ways.

And that’s been just the case.

When the Strip was essentially shut down by the March 18th closure of all casinos, it rocked the hospitality industry and left hundreds of thousands without jobs. In fact, unemployment levels in Nevada have skyrocketed in the past month like never seen before.

Of course, unemployment levels have broken records nationwide, but Las Vegas is reeling the hit even harder due to it being a tourism town that depends on visitors for their economy to run smoothly.

Sky-High Unemployment Levels

According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the week of March 21st saw its highest number of unemployment claims at 92,298. The previous record it held was 8,945 claims during the week of Jan. 10, 2009, during the Great Recession.

The claims put in after March 21 were still significantly high, with 71,942 claims submitted March 28, 2020, and 79,285 claims submitted April 4, 2020.

Last week, Oxford Economics, an analytics firm, ranked the Silver State as the second most vulnerable in terms of economy, just behind Maine.

The firm pointed out that Nevada gets four times more of its gross domestic product from the tourism sector than the entire country does as a whole.

Some of the factors that went into compiling the list include the states’ elderly populations, activity from retail outlets and small businesses.

What Makes a State More Vulnerable Than Others?

According to Oxford Economics, the most vulnerable states being impacted during this pandemic lean with a higher percentage of elderly populations, populations who rely on retail activity, or states who have a larger number of small businesses.

According to Yardi Matrix, a real estate research group, they explained in their Tuesday report that nearly 50% of Southern Nevada’s workers belong to the very industries that have had the most risk for job insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis.

Those at-risk industries include entertainment and leisure, hospitality, retail, and construction.

Las Vegas, the Perfect Storm for Coronavirus Impacts

Popularly known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” Las Vegas is built on tourism and visitors flocking to have their “Vegas experience.”

But when the global coronavirus outbreak hit, it made for the perfect disaster waiting to happen.

It was the reason why Nevada Governor Sisolak made the decision early on to essentially shut Las Vegas down. With casinos closed and nonessential businesses shuttered as well, it helped the city dodge what could have been an even bigger bullet with the crowds that Las Vegas brings in.

The decision for the statewide closures was to prevent the spread of the virus and contain it as best as possible so that local healthcare facilities wouldn’t be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and outnumbered.

Time Will Tell

While the government is doing what it can to help support the unemployed and the toppled economy, only time will tell the impact it will wreck on Nevada’s economy.

Luckily, many gaming operators have “cash burn” flows, that they can utilize which will help support them while there is no business coming in. But, again, we’ll have to see how long these casino closures will in fact last.

As of now, they’re still on track to reopen April 30. Gov. Sisolak advised Nevada residents that he will be consulting medical experts’ advice in when to reopen the state.

Be sure to check back for more updates regarding the coronavirus crisis in Las Vegas. We hope you’re staying safe and sane at home!

LVCVA Could Face $200M Loss from Coronavirus Pandemic

Las Vegas Convention CenterThe Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), which hosts many of Vegas’ massive annual conventions, trade shows, and more, could be facing an enormous economic loss due to the coronavirus crisis.

From room tax revenue alone, they expect to see a loss of nearly $200 million, according to their 2021 fiscal budget report.

With Governor Sisolak mandating the statewide closure of all casinos effective March 18 through April 30, as it currently stands, it effectively kneecapped room tax revenue across the state, with the LVCVA feeling the heavy impact of it.

According to LVCVA CEO, Steve Hill, the authority’s share of room tax revenue will fall from $300 million to around $100 million, a hefty drop indeed.

Because of the expected losses, Hill asked to reschedule the authority’s 2021 fiscal budget presentation for next month.

Hill and the entire authority were looking forward to the direction they were heading in for their 2021 fiscal year, saying that they were set to break records in “a number of different ways,” but that’s since changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of an exciting fiscal year, one that the authority very much looked forward to, they’re not preparing for a year of hardships and the roadblocks ahead.

Room Bookings, Conventions, Meetings and Trade Shows Make Up Bulk of LVCVA Revenue

Here’s a fun fact: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority actually inherit a whopping third of Las Vegas’ total room tax revenue. As far as where the other two-thirds of the room revenue is distributed, it goes to supporting local schools and infrastructure projects.

Room tax revenue is where the bulk of where LVCVA’s revenue comes from. Another major portion of their revenue, of course, comes from the conventions, meetings and trade shows hosted throughout the year.

Their events are primarily held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is going under some major renovations, and other scattered locations throughout the Vegas valley.

Conventions were one of the first things to take a major hit, outside of casinos, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Convention vendors, who normally have jobs lined up for months in a row because of the constant demand, are suddenly out of work.

With event cancellations and postponements, it’s uncertain and largely unlikely that these things will be rebooked with the current state of the pandemic. From these traditional events that have been either canceled or postponed, the LVCVA expects to lose out on nearly $60 million, according to Hill.

Hill predicts that even if meetings will be rescheduled, they will probably be in smaller numbers than what they’re used to seeing and hosting. He cites “health and safety” as being the prime motivation behind smaller event gatherings.

LVCVA Looking to Where They Can Make Budget Cuts

It’s no surprise that the LVCVA is looking to where they can cut costs to offset their economic loss.

Today, the board even approved a $79 million budget cut for its 2020 fiscal year.

As a part of the budget cut, the authority will be furloughing and laying off 350 employees. In an announcement made on Tuesday, LVCVA said the company is furloughing roughly 270 employees and laying off 80 employees.

In total, the organization has 455 employees, so this is a major announcement and company-wide effort being made to make up for losses incurred by the COVID-19 outbreak. That announcement is included in 11 other areas where major cuts are going to be made in an effort to salvage their budget.

Those other areas include the elimination of performance bonuses, which apply to managers and company executives, a hiring freeze, and voluntary early retirement for select employees.

LVCVA Ending Millions Worth of Contracts

In addition to budget cuts, LVCVA also announced that they would be ending $9 million worth of contracts with their tourism ambassadors. They’re also putting a halt to the $12 million worth of miscellaneous changes they had planned for their operations.

The $540-million renovation of the convention centers, that was set to be worked up for two years, will also be put on pause.

Two of their Major Projects Will Carry On Despite Budget Cuts

While the authority is making major changes to deal with revenue loss, two of their most visible projects, a $1 billion expansion project, and the $53 million underground people move project, are still hauling forward.

They’re still on track to wrap up later this year.

According to LVCVA Chairman Larry Brown, the second tunnel, which is located under the convention center’s main entrance, is about halfway done. He added that they’re on track to finish at a faster pace than anticipated.

Las Vegas Convention Center to be Used as Makeshift Medical Facility

While the Las Vegas Convention Center has been effectively rendered as non-operational with the current closures, Clark County leaders, along with the Southern Nevada Health District and the valley’s hospitals announced their plan to utilize it as an “alternate care center.”

The space will be used as a makeshift medical facility as needed for COVID-19 patients, should the hospitals experience an overwhelming surge of patients and maxed-out capacity.

According to Clark County Fire Chief, John Steinbeck, a plan has been prepared in partnership with Army Corps of Engineers to make up to 900 beds available at the Las Vegas Convention Center should the need arise.

Hill, the authority’s CEO, said that the Convention Center has been a community resource for years, and the coronavirus pandemic is “no exception.

Stay Tuned

Well, it’s certainly no surprise that the coronavirus crisis is rocking the Las Vegas economy in ways never seen or imagined before.

We commend the industry’s ability to fight the good fight and their resourcefulness in keeping their head above water.

While this is a trying time for the gaming and tourism industry, as well as many other industries, we have no doubt that Las Vegas will eventually bounce back even stronger than ever. We only hope that’s sooner than later.

Stay safe and healthy out there, everyone!

Las Vegas Hilton Properties Offering Free Rooms for Healthcare Workers

DoubleTree by Hilton in Las VegasHilton Properties has just joined the growing list of hotel properties who are offering up free rooms as a way to support healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Numerous Hilton properties are participating in the new initiative, with over 10 locations in Las Vegas opening their doors to medical personnel across the valley.

According to a statement made by the company Monday night, they will be providing nearly one million hotel room nights throughout the U.S. for the brave men and women in the healthcare field who put their lives on the line every day fighting COVID-19.

“By donating rooms to frontline workers, we hope (these heroes) can rest, stay strong and protect (their families) from potential exposure,” the statement explains.

Growing List of Hotel Chains Offering Free Rooms

Hilton Properties now joins an increasing list of hotel properties who are playing their part to support our country’s healthcare workers during this time of need.

Other major hotel chains who have pledged similar initiatives include Marriott International, Diamond Resorts, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and Choice Hotels International.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) recently created a similar new nationwide initiative called “Hospitality for Hope” and have seen more than 15,000 hotels sign up. The program also matches healthcare and emergency frontline workers with comped stays at participating hotel properties.

Best Western also announced on Monday that they’ve launched a “support package” aimed to help frontline workers. The chain will be offering 10 perfect off to essential workers, this includes healthcare personnel, emergency first responders and transportation workers at participating properties across the U.S.

Professionalism Driving Healthcare Workers During This Pandemic

While handling sick patients is something aspiring healthcare workers know they’re signing up for when they enter the medical field, dealing with a major pandemic on a global scale like COVID-19 is something you don’t anticipate running into until you’re faced with it.

So, what’s driving these medical workers to fight on the front line of COVID-19? In many major cities, like New York City, hospitals and healthcare facilities are overwhelmed with patients, but medical supplies are low.

The answer to their dedication to the fight, despite the constant challenges they’re facing, is professionalism. The very nature of their professionalism prioritizes the interests of their patients and public health over their own.

These are the men and women who need the most support and care during this challenging time because support and care is something they courageously and graciously give.

We applaud the hospitality industry for providing our health heroes with a comfortable and safe space to rest their head at night, before having to go back into the battlegrounds the very next day again.

Participating Hilton Properties in Las Vegas Offering Free Rooms

The following 15 Hilton Properties in Las Vegas are offering free stays to medical personnel across the valley:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Las Vegas Airport
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Convention Center Las Vegas
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Las Vegas
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas Airport
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas South
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas-Henderson
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas-Red Rock/Summerlin
  • Hampton Inn Las Vegas/North Speedway
  • Hampton Inn Las Vegas/Summerlin
  • Hampton Inn Tropicana
  • Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas Strip South
  • Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas/Henderson
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton Las Vegas Strip South
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Henderson South Las Vegas
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Las Vegas City Center

Hospitality Heroes

There’s nothing like hearing good news and seeing the community step up for those in need while this pandemic is going on.

Much like our healthcare workers are being called health heroes, we want to give it up for the hospitality industry and all of the participating hotels who are offering free stays during COVID-19.

You are true hospitality heroes.

Marriot Providing $10M Worth in Hotel Stays for Healthcare Workers

Marriott International Logo RedIn a positive trend that we’ve been seeing over the past couple weeks, Marriot International is joining other hotel properties like Diamond Resorts and Greektown in Detroit, Michigan in providing free stays for healthcare professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

In their new initiative called “Rooms for Responders,” Marriot International will be offering complimentary rooms in cities across the US where the COVID-19 outbreak has been the most disruptive.

Those cities include New York City, the country’s coronavirus epicenter, Newark, N.J., Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

Partnering with the American College of Emergency Physicians & Emergency Nurses Association

The hotel property has joined forces with the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Nurses Association to set up healthcare professionals with comped stays at the participating Marriot properties.

According to Mariott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson, American Express and JPMorgan Chase, the hotel’s credit card partners, will be joining in on their humanitarian effort.

Doctors and nurses, who have the biggest risk of catching COVID-19 since they’re in close, constant daily contact with patients, will be able to have a comfortable, clean, and safe space to rest their head after a long shift.

Complimentary hotel stays help in the fight against COVID-19 because it alleviates the worry that many healthcare workers or first responders have about getting their families or loved ones at home infected with the virus.

Community Caregiver Program

Outside of the free stays offered in the select cities where COVID-19 has made the biggest impact, Marriot International has also initiated their new Community Caregiver Program.

This program offers discounted rates to first responders and healthcare workers at over 2,500 of their properties. The initiative is beneficial for workers who are looking to book stays at locations that are closer to the hospitals they’re working at.

The initiative is available in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Properties Across US Offering Over 3 Million Hotel Rooms to Healthcare Workers

Hotel chains and independent properties have really stepped up to the plate during the coronavirus pandemic. They’re helping in the best way that they’re able to, providing a free stay to those who need it the most during the outbreak.

In a new nationwide initiative called “Hospitality for Hope,” over 15,000 hotels have signed up to match healthcare and emergency frontline workers with complimentary stays at participating properties.

Through this and several over initiatives that the hospitality industry have recently joined, a combined total of 3.4 million hotel rooms have been made available to our country’s healthcare workers in this desperate time of need.

According to Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the company that organized Hospitality for Hope, the hospitality industry is “uniquely positioned” to support communities by taking care of frontline workers during this public health crisis.

Rogers explained that as an industry of people that’s used to taking care of people, now’s the time to really be there for our healthcare heroes and emergency workers who are putting their lives on the line every day just to keep the citizens of this country safe.

Stay Tuned

We are grateful for the hospitality industry for providing a safe haven for our country’s healthcare professional and first responders. During a time where their own industries have been rocked with economic loss, they’re still doing their part to give back in a major way.

Because these workers have a comfortable, free room to rest in and a space to keep themselves at a safe distance from their loved ones, we imagine it’s helping lift some of the stress out of their daily routines during this new normal.

While we can imagine how tough it is for these workers to be away from their families during this time, we imagine it helps remove the burden of worrying about whether or not their families will get sick.

Do you know someone who is a healthcare professional or frontline worker? Leave a shout-out to them in the comments below and give them our many thanks! We are humbled by your continued sacrifice.

Stay safe and healthy out there, everyone.

Wynn and Encore Display Positive Messages Amid Casino Closures

Encore Las VegasWhile Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas have their doors closed in compliance with a mandatory statewide casino closure order, which is set to be lifted April 30, they’re doing their part to spread light on the Strip with positive messages displayed brightly on the properties’ building.

On Sunday, the Encore lit up a huge, filled-in heart, while the Wynn Las Vegas has an inspiring message that reads “HOPE SHINES BRIGHT.”

They posted the teaser on their Twitter page Saturday, with a message saying their “heart is full” and that they look forward to welcoming guests back to their property safely and soundly once the closures are lifted.

It’s so great to see the city supporting one another and lifting each other up during this time of need and uncertainty. Let’s take a look at the positive ways the Las Vegas gaming industry is helping out their community and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic.

Las Vegas Sands Donated Two Million Pieces of PPE

The Las Vegas Sands company, which owns and operates the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Expo & Convention Center, made a generous donation of over two million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) earlier this month.

The company donated one million medical masks and 20,000 protective suits to Nevada’s health care industry. They also donated one million medical masks to New York City, the country’s coronavirus epicenter.

Besides helping provide those incredibly important and highly-requested medical supplies, the Sands also pledges to contribute $250,000 to local organizations providing food and water to those in the Las Vegas area.

Vegas Headliners Help MGM Resorts’ Emergency Employee Fund Reach $11M

MGM Resorts recently reached $11 million on their Employee Emergency Grant Fund, with the help of generous contributions from Vegas headliners and notable figures, like Kirk Kerkorian.

That celebrity contributors list includes popular Vegas headliners David Copperfield, the Jabbawockeez, Shin Lim, Carrot Top, and Terry Fator.

Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, who was in the middle of his Las Vegas 2020 residency at Park MGM when the outbreak hit, donated $1 million to the fund himself.

Other stars who donated to the fund include David Spade, Bill Mahar, Ray Romano and more.

MGM Resorts has also donated at least 454,000 meals across local food banks and food banks across the country.

Their marquee sign also includes the uplifting message “We don’t have to be together to stand together.”

Ahern Hotel Providing First Responders with Communal Space and Discounted Meals

The Ahern Hotel in Las Vegas, formerly known as the Lucky Dragon, has been providing first responders with a free meeting space that offers complimentary coffee and discounted meals.

The company wanted to give first responders a better space to meet up and grab a bite during their workday, instead of the workers resorting to eating in their vehicles in between calls or on their lunch break.

Discounted meals are being offered daily, between the hours of noon through 9 p.m.

Stay Tuned

Now, this is the good news we love to see.

Even though the Las Vegas economy has been rocked harder than ever with the coronavirus crises and its casinos being shut down for the first time in history, the city continues to stand up and fight together.

We have no doubt that once the dust settles, Vegas will come back even stronger. What good news have you been hearing about in your local community? We’d love for you to share your story below.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

These Las Vegas Restaurants are Serving Easter Meals

Easter Dinner Set Up on Dining TableWhile much of Las Vegas is shut down because of the coronavirus closures, many local restaurants are offering up fantastic meals for Easter Sunday that the whole family can enjoy.

Gov. Sisolak mentioned last week that this wasn’t the time for Easter dinner with the entire clan, but that doesn’t apply to single-household families who have been staying together under one roof during this time of quarantine.

If you didn’t plan to make a feast this Easter with everything going on, we totally understand. Let these restaurants do the heavy lifting so you can enjoy a tasty, stress-free celebration with your loved ones while supporting these Las Vegas restaurants.

Benihana

The beloved Hibachi-style restaurant at Fashion Show is making a feast for a family of 6 to enjoy this Easter. Meat combos to choose from include chicken and shrimp, steak and chicken, or steak and shrimp.

All meals come with their signature Hibachi vegetables, Hibachi chicken rice, Benihana salad, and homemade dipping sauces.

Treat your family to this Hibachi-style Easter dinner for $95.

Honey Salt

From 11am-3pm, Honey Salt will be offering a brunch menu that you won’t want to miss out on. It serves a family of four at the cost of $130.

It features their Easter monkey bread, greek yogurt parfaits, crispy potatoes, corn-flake French toast, and weekend frittatas.

If dinner is more up your alley, you can order between 4pm-7pm. It also serves a family of up to four for between $145-$160. Dinner will include your choice of the brown sugar baked ham or roast beef.

It’s served with dinner rolls, gilcrease asparagus salad, crush fingerling potatoes, roasted heirloom carrots, and caramel banana bread pudding for dessert.

Be sure to pre-order to get your meals reserved, as items are limited.

Big Jerk Carribean

In addition to their normal offerings, Big Jerk Carribean is featuring a special Jerk Pork entrée for the Easter holiday, and will be offered until the end of April. It will come served with their signature cabbage.

Their full menu is available for takeout or delivery through GrubHub or UberEats.

Marie Callendar’s

Marie Callendar’s Ham Dinner Family Meal goes for $49 and will serve up to four people.

It’s a simple and delicious bundle including Easter favorites oven-rated ham, glaze, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, and a signature pie of your choice.

Bonefish Grill

The seafood specialty restaurant Bonefish Grill is offering up their Easter Dinner Family Bundles. It serves a family of up to five people for just under $50.

The bundle will include wood-grilled Mahi fish, jumbo shrimp served with citrus aioli, choice of house or Caesar salad, along with some delectable sides the whole family can enjoy.

Those sides include bacon mac-and-cheese, seasonal vegetables, bread with pesto, and cheesecake and fresh cookies for dessert.

For an additional $15, you can add a bottle of wine to the feast!

Bootlegger Italian Bistro

For $58, your family can indulge in an Italian-style feast that will feed up to four.

For entrees, your family can choose between chicken breast masala, chicken breast Milanese, chicken breast cacciatore, or chicken breast picatta.

For filling sides, choose between mashed potatoes, bow-tie alfredo pasta, or penne pasta with marinara sauce.

You’ll also get a choice between Insalata di Casa or Instalata Cesar salad, with a side of fresh sautéed vegetables.

For dessert, it’s classic apple pie.

For other full-on Italian options, Buca Di Bepo and Maggiano’s Little Italy are also offering up Easter bundles.

More Options for a Great Easter Feast

Here are other fantastic restaurants in the valley that are serving up their own spin of an Easter feast that you might want to check out if you’re familiar with them:

The Capital Grille, a fine dining restaurant & steakhouse

Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared, Latin American brunch cuisine

Rooster Boy Café, locally sourced breakfast cuisine

The Stirling Club, American and seafood cuisine

Wolfgang Puck’s Player Locker, Sports-style restaurant serving bar food

First Easter in Quarantine

Well, this Easter Sunday will certainly be one that we’ve all collectively never experienced before, with it being the first Easter being spent in quarantine.

But while that might not mean that common Easter traditions, like attending live church or going on an Easter egg hunt with the entire family, can’t take place in the same way, there are ways to work around it.

Many churches will be streaming their services live, and your immediate family can still have an Easter egg hunt around the house! What’s better is that you can have one of these carefully prepared Easter feasts show up at your door without even lifting a finger.

What are your Easter plans? Will you be placing an order with any of these restaurants? We’d love to know what you have going on at your home.

We want to wish you and your family a safe and healthy holiday. Happy Easter, everyone!

Las Vegas Raiders Look into Backup Plan for Home Games

Allegiant Stadium Las VegasWith the coronavirus pandemic still causing a lot of uncertainty around the world, especially in the city of Las Vegas, the Raiders are eyeing backup plans in case the outbreak interferes with Allegiant Stadium’s July completion date.

It makes sense that the team would want to cover their bases, especially when there’s really no telling what could happen next. Just two days ago, a second Allegiant Stadium worker tested positive for COVID-19. Construction, however, is carrying on.

According to a report by Forbes, the Las Vegas Raiders are possibly looking into playing some of their games at Sam Boyd Stadium. They’re even thinking about out-of-state road options for places to play, with El Paso or San Antonio, Texas as could-be options.

In fact, an NFL insider said that the team might be playing their first few games of the regular season on the road.

The stadium is set to be complete by July 31.

As of now, there is no indication that construction will be halted due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the construction industry as a whole has been deemed as an essential business during the statewide closures of casinos and nonessential businesses.

Construction Still Carrying On in Clark County and Across the Country

While there have been a few cases of COVID-19 workers recently, namely three Resorts World Las Vegas workers and two Allegiant Stadium workers, the construction industry has been one of the least affected industries.

Many health industry experts say it’s because the construction sector is typically an outside business.

With outside work and contact, airborne particles dissipate much more easily as compared with indoor spaces. That means the virus is less likely to spread among individuals when they’re outdoors.

But, while it’s business as usual for those in the construction industry, preventative policies and procedures have been implemented to fight the further spread of the virus.

Some of those policies include health wellness checks on workers at the start of their shift, social distance guidelines of six feet of space between workers at all times, hand-washing stations in various areas around the job site, and limited meetings with no more than 10 people gathered at once.

About Allegiant Stadium

Allegiant Stadium is a domed stadium being constructed for the Las Vegas Raiders, serving as their home stadium, as well as an entertainment venue for musical concerts and other events. It’s the first stadium of its kind in Las Vegas, Nevada. The total cost of the project is close to $2 billion.

Las Vegas Nonprofit Sees 700 Percent Increase for Senior Meals

Meals on Wheels ProgramCatholic Charities of Southern Nevada, a major Las Vegas nonprofit, has been seeing an overwhelming surge in the number of seniors seeking home-delivered meals amid the coronavirus crisis.

The program which provides these free home-delivered meals to seniors in need, Meals on Wheels, would normally have around 300 people on its waiting list. Last month, it was seven times that amount with 2,400 joining the waiting list.

According to Tom Roberts, Catholic Charities President and CEO, he said he’s never seen anything like this demand in his over eight years with the company, calling it ‘unprecedented.’

He also mentioned that donations have decreased by around 50 percent.

“There are a lot of people who are really struggling,” Roberts said.

While the COVID-19 situation has certainly added to the surge of meal requests in the valley’s various nonprofits, there was already an increase in demand of seniors seeking out food assistance.

Why? It has to do with Las Vegas’ growing populations and longer lifespans of seniors.

Nevada One of the Fastest Growing States in the Country

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada was the nation’s fastest-growing state in 2018. Not only that, but the retirement-age population also boomed to 149,000 residents between 2010 and 2018.

In the Census Bureau July 2017 estimate, 14.5 percent of Las Vegas’ near 645,000 residents are 65-years-old or older.

Here’s the breakdown of residents 65+ across the valley:

Las Vegas: 15.7 percent

Henderson: 19.1 percent

North Las Vegas: 10 percent

Boulder City: 30.4 percent

Seniors Struggle Most with Food Insecurity Compared with Other Age Groups

According to Jodi Tyson, vice president for strategic initiatives at Three Square food bank, seniors generally struggle more with food insecurity over age groups due to the fact that most of them are on fixed incomes.

Tyson says that they typically have to consider “spending trade-offs” so that they can afford to pay for other necessities, such as housing, medication, and doctor’s visits.

Defeat Malnutrition Today, a nonpartisan coalition, said in a statement this Monday that across the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the risk of poor nutrition and health to increase among the elderly.

“Malnutrition leads to more health-related complications and falls for older Americans, while protein malnutrition in particular contributes to longer hospital stays and higher rates of death,” said Bob Blancato, national coordinator for Defeat Malnutrition Today.

He urged Americans to collectively do their part to “protect the older adults in our lives from becoming malnourished during this crisis.”

Meals on Wheels, A Highly Sought-After Service

Since 1975, the Meals on Wheels program has been serving seniors in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

The highly sought-after program has always, according to Roberts, had a waiting list of 200-300 seniors. Case managers prioritize the list based on need and those who are immobile or have serious health issues.

Roberts added that seniors are often “silent sufferers” of hunger in the valley. “It breaks my heart that that level of demand and need is out there,” Roberts expressed.

Seeking Help for Increased Demand

Roberts advised that Catholic Charities has reached out to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services’ Aging and Disability Services Division and informed them of the greatly increased demand for meals.

The Aging and Disability Services Division is one of the agencies that help fund Meals on Wheels.

Catholic Charities Faces Another Big Problem Amid Coronavirus Crisis

It hasn’t been an easy month for Catholic Charities. Besides the current surge of demand for senior meals they’re facing, their overnight homeless shelter was forced to close its doors after a homeless man and one of their employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The shelter, which can accommodate around 516 men, shut down for a week. For that week, a parking lot outside of Cashman Center was used as a makeshift shelter and had white lines marked on the ground to indicate social distancing guidelines.

Catholic Charities overnight shelter reopened on April 1.

Meals on Wheels Programs Across Southern Nevada

Besides the Meals on Wheels program offered at Catholic Charities, there are two more Meals on Wheels programs provided by the city of Henderson and the Boulder City Senior Center. A few other senior centers have also caught on and began offering delivery or pick-up meals.

Has the demand for meals increased for the other cities providing meals to seniors? Not in the same way.

According to Lacey Scarpa, assistant executive director at the senior center in Boulder City, their program serves between 30-60 seniors. Since the outbreak, that number has stayed “pretty much the same.”

Their food pantry has however doubled in the past month. In an effort to help seniors in the community during these challenging times, the Boulder City senior center has been delivering meals to more than 75 seniors outside of the program.

Other Nonprofits Helping Out During This Time of Need

Nonprofits across the valley have been a wonderful source of help during this time of need.

In response to the economic downfall created by the coronavirus pandemic, Three Square food bank collaborated with the Clark County School District to create an emergency food fund. Together, they’ve created 43 distribution sites spread in different areas of the valley.

Three Square also contacted those seniors who were present at their two in-person meal offerings and asked if home-delivered groceries were needed.

Since mid-March, they’ve delivered groceries to 1,600 with the help of the Regional Transportation Commission.

At SHARE Village Las Vegas, they’ve spread out their food pantry services for the entire week to meet the demand of those seeking out food assistance.

About Catholic Charities

Serving some of the most vulnerable members in our community with dignity, hope and compassion is always at the core of our mission at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (CCSN). With this in mind, the agency is taking additional steps to enhance the safety and protection practices for the thousands of men, women, families and children who rely on our services each day.

To learn more about the specific services they’re offering during the COVID-19 crisis, visit their official website.

Donate to Meals on Wheels

Vulnerable seniors are at the greatest risk amid COVID-19. Local Meals on Wheels programs are on the front lines every day, focused on doing all they can to keep older Americans safe and nourished in communities across the country. The costs and efforts needed to protect seniors from COVID-19 require additional emergency funds, and that is why we are asking federal lawmakers, corporations, foundations and the general public to remember these vulnerable seniors in our national response. 

From their official website. To learn you can help, visit their page.

Stay Tuned

While it’s hard to see many seniors in the Las Vegas area struggling to secure food, we’re happy that there are organizations and programs in the local community that are stepping up to help those with the most need during these challenging times.

What acts of generosity and kindness are you seeing in your local area? Has someone helped you or have you helped someone else during this time of need? We’d love to hear your stories below.

Stay together Nevada, and stay strong.

Second Allegiant Stadium Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19

Allegiant Stadium ExteriorOn Wednesday, Mortenson-McCarthy Builders, the construction firm who is building the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, announced that a second worker of theirs has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The first Allegiant Stadium worker to test positive for the virus was two weeks ago on March 26.

After that happened, the construction firm “implemented stringent cleaning protocols on the project” consistent with CDC guidelines.

According to the company, the affected worker was not in close contact with other workers since social guidelines had been implemented on site grounds after the first incident took place.

Mortenson-McCarthy Builders maintain that work “continues in other areas of the project that remain unaffected,” according to Mick Akers with the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Sports Stadium Construction is ‘Essential’ and Will Carry On

Despite some cases of COVID-19 being present in the construction sector, work has been deemed ‘essential’ by government authorities and will press on, with of course the implementation of preventative procedures.

Luckily, outside work is said to be ‘advantageous’ according to health experts. The reason beingis  that airborne-materials more easily dissipate, making the risk of catching or spreading the virus minimal.

Construction work is able to continue during the statewide closures of casinos and nonessential businesses, which include beauty services, retail stores and more.

Stringent Policies and Procedures Put into Place

While the number of construction workers who have tested positively for COVID-19 on Las Vegas specific jobs sites, such a Resorts World Las Vegas who had a third worker test positive this week, has been minimal and contained, it’s caused construction firms to strictly enforce new work procedures to prevent a greater spread.

Take a look at the preventive policies and procedures list that Mortenson-McCarthy has installed around the worksite that workers are expected to follow thoroughly amid the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Strict Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance including directing team members who feel sick or have health-related concerns to stay home
  • A daily verbal health screen of all workers conducted prior to beginning work on site
  • Implementation of strict social distancing guidelines and recommended personal hygiene practices
  • Reduced worker concentrations
  • Increased sanitation and cleaning throughout the project site including high traffic areas, which are sanitized multiple times per day. The monitoring of those areas to ensure appropriate social distancing and sanitation.
  • Hand wash stations and sanitizers available throughout the project job site
  • Implementation of a COVID-19 Compliance Team to check that adherence to local, state and national laws/recommendations are being followed.
  • Staggered start times to minimize the number of workers entering the job site at any given time.
  • Working with customers and trade partners to adjust workflows as necessary.
  • Implementation of teleconferencing whenever applicable.
  • Suspension of large group gathering and meetings of more than 10 people.

Stay Tuned

With construction carrying on in the valley, and on Allegiant Stadium specifically, it’s still set to open as scheduled this August. But, with the way the pandemic is currently, it’s hard to say if construction will carry on as usual, or be halted.

We can only take it day by day and see how things progress. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Clark County and give you the latest updates. We hope you’re staying healthy out there!

Las Vegas Strip Hotels Unlikely Option for Coronavirus Surge Patients

Aerial View of Las Vegas StripWith coronavirus spreading like wildfire across the nation, it puts a very important, and rather immediate, “worst-case scenario” in mind: Where will all of the surge coronavirus patients be placed once hospitals and healthcare facilities become flooded?

It looks like public health officials are being forced to prepare quickly for this worst-case scenario, with some hospitals already being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. It means that options for where overflow surge patients could go must be considered, and considered quickly.

A place that has a ton of now-empty casino-hotels available due to the nationwide closure of casinos might be the obvious solution that pops into your head right away. Namely: Las Vegas.

But while it seems to make sense at first thought, there are a lot of reasons that would make Las Vegas Strip hotels an overflow option for COVID-19 patients an unlikely bet.

The USA TODAY NETWORK contacted some of the Strip’s casino-hotel giants and hospitality experts to get their insight into why this type of request wouldn’t work. Let’s dig a little deeper to see what challenging issues that particular scenario might bring up.

Not Enough Staff Available For Medical Manpower Needed

The space on the Las Vegas Strip is far from the issue. In fact, there are currently over 65,000 rooms that are going unused by the day due to the casino closures that is set to last April 30.

But more space doesn’t mean there is an equivalent of trained staff on hand that could provide the type of specific support and care needed.

“Beyond a skeleton security team and a few specialists required by gaming regulations, we do not have staff on-site who could provide the services and support necessary to make this a viable option,” said Caesars Entertainment spokesman Richard Broome.

The Request Has Yet To Be Made

According to National Resort Association President, Virginia Valentine, the industry has responded to “multiple community requests,” but when it comes to question of whether or not they’d be able to secure beds for COVID-19 overflow patients, they have “not been approached on this matter.”

Broome, spokesman for Caesars, says, “We have not been asked.”

MGM Resorts International has yet to respond to inquiries of whether or not government officials made the request for beds or not. Las Vegas Sands also declined to comment.

Wynn Resorts, on the other hand, says that their company has been in consistent contact with the state’s COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force, according to company spokesperson Michael Weaver.

Weaver, however, did not say whether they’ve been asked about offering up hotel beds.

According to SNHD spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore, she said that “The Health District did not reach out to resorts on the Strip.”

The main role that resorts have been playing during this pandemic is donating medical supplies, such as Las Vegas Sands’ generous donation of two million pieces of personal protective equipment to Nevada and New York, and helping out local communities in terms of providing food to local food banks and helping support casino staff with financial aid, like MGM Resorts is doing.

‘Adapting Wouldn’t Be Easy’

With casinos being forced to shutter their doors, it’s caused many of them to shave down their staff with furloughs and layoffs done to combat the economic downfall caused by the closures.

Reduced staff levels would make the transition of turning Strip hotels into a makeshift hospital-type space for COVID-19 patients a difficult task, according to Nevada Resort Association President Virginia Valentine.

“Given the immense size and scale of resort properties and the many factors that go into their operations, it would be difficult to adapt resort hotel rooms with limited operational levels,” she said in an email.

Mehmet Erdem, associate professor at UNLV’s Hospitality College, echoed Valentine’s reasoning. Erdem says that the challenges of turning these megaresorts into surge centers goes beyond just operational hurdles.

“Let’s say you did sanitize, many surfaces may have the virus,” says Erdem. “Who wants to take the liability of putting someone in a hotel room and they get infected from the previous patients?”

The Risk of Contagion Brings Up Liability Issues

As pointed out by Erdem, the risk of bringing in overflow COVID-19 patients brings up the issue of staff, especially those who are untrained to medically handle patients of that nature, catching the virus and it spreading.

The casinos wouldn’t be sure how liability in that sense would fall on them, or if they’re even equipped to handle it.

Some Resorts Are Opening Up Their Doors For Frontline Workers

While the questions of using resorts to house overflow COVID-19 patients seems out of the questions, many hotel properties are gladly opening up their doors for the country’s frontline workers, including first responders and medical personnel.

Timeshare company Diamond Resorts recently announced that its properties worldwide are offering complimentary suites to first responders.

A new program “Hospitality for Hope” which is designed to set up healthcare and emergency workers with hotel properties for safe housing amid the coronavirus pandemic recently had over 15,000 hotels sign up to participate.

Properties are offering up their hotel rooms to serve as a space for those frontline workers who are afraid of going home and possibly contaminating their families with the virus, should they have it.

Stay Tuned

While the possibility of utilizing Strip hotels as overflow locations seems out of the questions, it may be too premature to say whether or not that need will arise with the virus continuing to spread.

We can only hope that for states like New York and Colorado, who have overwhelmed hospitals and healthcare facilities, that they will be able to find the proper space to house COVID-19 patients where they can get the care they need.

We will continue to monitor the coronavirus crisis in Nevada and keep you updated with any new movements in the situation. Stay home and stay safe, Nevada.

Ahern Hotel in LV Offers Meals to First Responders

Lucky Dragon HotelAh, there’s nothing we love seeing more than good news and acts of generosity during this global coronavirus pandemic, and, no surprise here but it’s coming straight out of Las Vegas!

This is incredible, considering Las Vegas’s economy has been among the hardest hit amid the COVID-19. That isn’t stopping properties from helping out their community in need.

We want to give the spotlight today to The Ahern Hotel, which was formerly known as the Lucky Dragon. The Las Vegas property has been generously offering first responders in the valley with a free meeting space, which includes fresh food, ever since last week.

The building is utilizing its former casino space as the meeting space for front-line Las Vegas workers.

“The first responders are out there on the front lines trying to mitigate this pandemic … and keep people safe,” said Ahern Hotel executive Lloyd Denson. “We want to make their lives a little bit easier.”

A Designated Meeting Space

According to Denson, the property sought to offer a proper place of solace where first responders could meet up, chat, and grab a bite to eat, instead of them just doing it in their vehicles in between calls.

This designated meeting space provides first responders with complimentary coffee, on top of discounted meals.

The space allows for social distancing guidelines to be met too, to ensure that first responders and staff are kept safe and healthy. To meet these requirements, tables are spaced out, workers have been instructed to wear gloves, and hand sanitizer is readily available.

“(First responders) want to get out in a safe environment, and this allows them to do that,” Denson said.

Meal Time At Ahern

These discounted meals are being provided daily, from noon to 9 p.m.

In addition to discounted meals, Ahern Hotel is also offering a same-day pickup service. That service provides specialty entrees for pickup, which include marinated flank steak, salmon fillet, grilled paninis and more.

“It’s our way of providing food and resources to feed the local neighborhoods,” said Blake Ferry, managing partner and president of Ahern Hotel.

The meal program is being run by the Ahern Cares Program.

First Responders Step Up For Nevada

The valley’s healthcare workers, first responders, and frontline workers have showcased such bravery and efforts through this difficult time. Many of them have had to put in overtime with no end in sight, all while putting their lives at most risk by remaining in contact with the public daily.

Healthcare Workers

Southern Nevada’s healthcare heroes deserve all the praise they can get. They’ve been working directly with COVID-19 patients, and with a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). It’s unbelievable the amount of sacrifice it requires to do their jobs at their full ability, without necessities like PPE being readily available.

Public Safety Officers

Las Vegas Metro police officers have also been doing their due diligence in cracking down on nonessential businesses who didn’t close their doors voluntarily. It’s all a part of the city’s bigger effort to crackdown on the spread of the virus, and closing nonessential businesses helps to prevent the unnecessary social contact of Nevadans.

Medical Workers’ Sacrifices Across The Country

Medical workers across the country aren’t just putting in every ounce of their effort into their shifts, they’re also putting as much effort once they leave at the end of their shift.

Some of the radical and heroic things healthcare workers are doing include moving out of their homes and into rentals to protect their own families from catching the virus.

They’re also washing their scrubs after each shift, as well as disinfecting their phones, keys, doorknobs, and any other surfaces they might touch.

Some are even securing a will and power of attorney.

Other Properties and Businesses Accommodating First Responders

The timeshare company Diamond Resorts announced on April 3 that they would be offering up complimentary rooms to first responders and medical personnel across their properties worldwide. Their suites feature full kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry facilities.

Recently, Las Vegas Sands company donated two million medical masks to local healthcare facilities in Nevada and New York, as well as 20,000 protective suits to Nevada facilities.

Denny’s locations all across the Las Vegas valley offered free breakfast Wednesday morning to first responders and frontline workers.

On Wednesday, Costco announced on its website that it will give special priority entrance to first responders, such as police officers, EMTs and firefighters, and healthcare workers across the nation. All that’s required is presenting an ID, along with a Costco membership card, and all healthcare workers and first responders will be moved to the front of the line.

Hospitality for Hope

In a new initiative called “Hospitality for Hope,” over 15,000 hotels have signed up to match emergency and healthcare workers with hotel properties that will serve to safely house them amid the coronavirus crisis.

According to the initiative’s organizer, American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the program will mostly provide lodging for the healthcare community, but some hotels in the program may also be utilized to serve as “Alternative Care Sites.”

“Alternative Care Sites” are being described as a temporary hospital site that can accommodate those who need to be quarantined.

“As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support our communities by caring for the first responders who are on the frontlines of this public health crisis,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the AHLA.

#VegasGoesBlue

On Tuesday, April 7, Southern Nevada’s leaders have asked residents to show their support for everyone on the front lines of the fight against the new coronavirus by  “going blue.”

How can you “go blue” for Las Vegas? It’s simple. Officials are simply asking residents to show their support by wearing something blue, posting it on social media, and including the #VegasGoesBlue hashtag.

Local landmarks are also showing their support for the valley’s brave healthcare workers, first responders, and those on the front lines. The world-famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign has been lit up in blue, as well as Las Vegas City Hall and Arizona Street in downtown Boulder City.

Stay Tuned

It’s incredible to see how the city of Las Vegas has come together to support our brave first responders, healthcare heroes, and frontline workers.

During this coronavirus pandemic, where things are uncertain and many are living in fear, it’s a bright spot to see those who step up and help out the workers who are going above and beyond to keep us all safe during these challenging times.

Our team here at BestUSCasinos.org want to give our deepest thanks to those who are working hard and putting their lives on the line every day to protect every single Nevadan. Your sacrifice will not go unknown!

Gov. Sisolak Gives Update on COVID-19 Crisis in NV

Nevada State FlagNevada Gov. Sisolak, who has been working overtime since the coronavirus pandemic has made its imprint in the Silver State, says Nevada is looking closely to identify where proper budget cuts can be made to help ease the economic downfall that’s been caused by the virus.

He has asked state agencies to look for areas within their budgets where reasonable cuts can be made.

With that announcement, Sisolak said that people at the front line of public health and safety will be granted priority in this particular budget strategy. He also assured that cuts wouldn’t be made across-the-board. Instead, the state will look to see where they can adequately conserve their resources.

“With the near-total shutdown of businesses during the COVID-19 response, including the gaming industry that makes up the lifeblood of our state’s economy, it is inevitable that this unexpected drop in revenue will force the state of Nevada to make tough budget choices in order to continue protecting the health and safety of our citizens,” Sisolak said.

Sisolak continued in the same statement by comparing the tough decisions the state will have to make to combat the financial impact of COVID-19 with that of Nevadans and small businesses in the state.

He commented on the mutual suffering of Nevadans by acknowledging those who have had or will have to make the same “hard, thoughtful decisions” to keep themselves afloat during these challenging times, in the same way that the state is doing the same.

Update on COVID-19 Crisis in Nevada

In case you’re not caught up to speed on the situation in Nevada, last week Gov. Sisolak announced a stay-at-home order for Nevadans and activated the National Guard. The day before that, he extended the statewide closures of all casinos and nonessential businesses in the state to April 30.

On Wednesday, Sisolak gave an updated status on Nevada’s response against COVID-19. He began his briefing by thanking those Nevadans who have been diligent in staying home and practicing social distancing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“It’s absolutely critical that we all continue to Stay Home for Nevada and practice strict social distancing,” Sisolak adamantly expressed.

As of today, April 8, there are over 2,300 positive COVID-19 cases in Nevada, with 18,249 tests coming back negative.

“We have lost 80 Nevadans to COVID-19,” said Gov. Sisolak.

As Sisolak made that statement, another death was reported during the press conference. That puts the death total at 81. That total number includes two healthcare workers, who made the “ultimate sacrifice.”

Sisolak urged Nevadans to do everything they can to keep our front line of defense as safe and healthy as possible.

Governor Expands Social Distancing Guidelines

On Wednesday, Gov. Sisolak expanded the state’s social distancing guidelines with more strict rules to help slow down the spread of the virus. Here’s a list of the new guidelines, effective today:

  • Sports venues, including golf courses, public basketball courts, skateboard parks, and swimming pools, are to be closed for the duration of the emergency.
  • Showrooms that display goods for sale, such as car dealerships and household appliance stores, must now be closed to the public.
  • Realtors are now being prohibited from showing open houses for numerous people, and the house must not be occupied.
  • Licensed hairdressers and barbers cannot offer in-house beauty services to anyone outside of their immediate household.
  • Grocery stores are being forced to close self-service stations if those stations cannot be properly sanitized in between each customer. The selling of raw goods, such as raw meat, which are neither packaged or sold by the scoop is also now prohibited.
  • In-person worship services are being prohibited, with no gatherings of more than 10 people allowed.
  • Businesses that are still operational must provide PPE for their employees, as well as implementing sanitation protocols.

State Distributes One Million Pieces of PPE

According to Sisolak, the state has provided 1,379,042 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) which has been a massive help across the local healthcare industry. The governor had been requesting more PPE for the past week.

Currently, the state’s PPE status is yellow, or in moderate need.

A whopping $6.2 million has been approved in state funding in an effort to assist the state in fighting COVID-19 and as a way to purchase more PPE. Another two million dollars was given in settlement funds to United Way as a means of assisting Nevadans with paying rent.

More Testing Kits Needed

Sisolak advised that so far, Nevada has received 3,000 reagent kits and 4,000 test swabs from the federal government, and how this amount doesn’t support the amount needed to test the state adequately.

Due to the lack of testing supplies, Sisolak has turned to the option of expanding state labs for testing use.

Dr. Mark Pandori of the Nevada State Public Health Lab is currently getting testing kits together in Northern Nevada and is working hard to get them delivered to Southern Nevada, where the majority of the COVID-19 cases are coming out of.

When it comes to testing kits, Nevada has been in dire need of them for a while now. The test kits at UNLV all but ran out yesterday, and state labs are out of extraction swabs.

According to Sisolak, the state should be getting more 15-minute kits by week’s end.

Urges Patience with Unemployment Claims

With delays in receiving testing kits and additional PPE, there is also a clear delay in many Nevadans being able to file their unemployment claims and receive their unemployment benefits.

The delay that has been plaguing applicants is a result of the sheer volume of cases being filed, which reached its all-time high in the state in the month of March. According to Sisolak, the state has been able to process 250,000 unemployment claims, but both their online and over-the-phone system has been struggling to keep up.

As a result, the system has crashed on numerous occasions, leaving many applicants frustrated during the process. Over 164,000 Nevadas are apart of the record number of Americans who filed for unemployment in the last two weeks of March, which is around 10 million.

“I’m aware of the frustration. I hear the anecdotal stories. I know for every person, if you’re the one that can’t get through, it’s a big issue for you,” Sisolak said. “We do not have the structure in place, I can assure you of this, to process this kind of this volume.”

Sisolak is urging callers to “keep trying and stay patient” through the unemployment process, and assured applicants that benefits will be “retroactive to the initial day.”

No Easter Dinner

As Sisolak is suggesting that the state “tighten the faucet” when it comes to enforcing stricter social distancing guidelines to those who aren’t taking it that seriously, that also means the upcoming Easter holiday is no exception.

“This isn’t the time to have an Easter dinner of 23 people in your immediate family that you haven’t seen since Christmas,” Sisolak said. “If we get to that later in the week, you’re going to see what strict enforcement looks like.”

The governor is urging Nevadans to continue to comply, so that way the upcoming holiday doesn’t set the state back any further or cause the virus to spread even more.

Stay Tuned

With the fluid coronavirus situation in Nevada, it’s best to keep monitoring the daily news for any updates or changes regarding social distancing guidelines or closures.

We hope that the situation in Nevada eases up soon so things can return to normal. Until then, stay at home as much as possible, keep your distance, and wash your hands!

MGM Employee Fund Reaches $11M Thanks to Vegas Headliners

MGM Grand Resort Las VegasLas Vegas headliners are showing their generous support to the city that lets them rock out on stage on most nights.

With casino closures in full effect until April 30, and nowhere for them to play their normal sets, these headliners are still going above and beyond to help support the Vegas economy that’s been rocked the hardest during these challenging times.

Some of those headliners include David Copperfield, Jay Leno, the Jabbawockeez, Shin Lim, and Boyz II Men. According to the company, all in all, their contributions have helped the MGM Resorts’ employee fund reach an incredible $11 million.

MGM made a statement on Tuesday that acknowledged their entertainment partners aid in helping provide necessary short-term financial relief to their employees and their immediate families through the Employee Emergency Grant Fund.

“We are incredibly humbled by the support of our entertainment partners, who have come together to assist the people who, during normal times, are committed to creating incredible experiences for our guests from around the world,” said acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle.

The Generous List Of Stars Who’ve Donated

A slew of other celebrities donated to the fund and deserve a round of applause and many thanks.

Those stars include Bill Maher, Kathleen Madigan, David Spade, Brad Garrett, Carrot Top, Terry Fator, Ray Romano, Thunder from Down Under, Hans Klok, Australian Bee Gees, and Fantasy and Bill Blumenreich Presents, according to MGM.

We must also give an honorable mention to singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, who was in the midst of his Las Vegas residency at Park MGM when operations got shuttered. Alone, he donated $1 million to the fund.

The estate of late the Las Vegas businessman and philanthropist, Kirk Kerkorian, donated $2 million to the emergency fund.

How The Fund Is Being Distributed

According to MGM officials, payments from the fund will go directly to service providers. It will cover costs for employees including their mortgages, rent, utilities, and/or medical bills.

These short-term grants are aimed at helping the company’s full-time, on-call, laid-off, furloughed, or separated employees.

This fund should be a big help to those MGM employees, especially with the property being shutdown since March 18, and not expected to open back up until April 30.

MGM Gives Back During This Time of Need

While this is a challenging time for not only MGM Grand but all gaming venues in the state, MGM is still finding ways to give back.

So far, they’ve donated at least 454,000 meals through local food banks to help provide food so that those in need of it in communities across the country don’t go hungry.

The company is working with local food banks, ensuring that the fresh, available food from their resorts is being safely and quickly donated to charitable organizations in underserved areas in the community.

“We’ve also stepped up our commitment to communities around the country. Over the past week, MGM has donated the equivalent of 400,000 meals through local food banks to alleviate food insecurity in the United States,” Hornbuckle said.

Holding Onto Hope For A Brighter Tomorrow

Currently, MGM Grand’s lit-up marquee sign reads “We don’t have to be together to stand together.”

We’re happy to see this scale of community effort on the part of major casino operators and celebrities. Right now, everyone could use a little bit of help, and we’re glad to see the ways in which the city of Las Vegas has risen to the challenge, despite the blow their economy is facing.

We have no doubt that Las Vegas will come back even stronger once the dust settles.

What kind of acts of generosity or donations have you been seeing in your local community? We’d love to know. Share your stories with us below!

Visiting Las Vegas Virtually During the Quarantine

Neon Museum in Las VegasNever thought we’d see the day, but the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown LV are virtually empty, and have been for the past few weeks.

That is, minus the cars that drive down Las Vegas Boulevard to take in the unusual sight of a pedestrian-free Strip, and law enforcement that’s parked outside of major casino-resorts to ensure no one makes their way in.

But while Las Vegas is temporarily “closed” (casinos and nonessential businesses are set to open back up April 30), you can still experience Vegas virtually with several Vegas experiences and attractions going online, some just requiring a simple search on YouTube even.

Here are some of the best Vegas-based experienced you can catch virtually during this time of quarantine. Think of it as a virtual field trip until you can experience the real thing live!

Cirque de Soleil

The Las Vegas show staple, Cirque de Soleil, launched CirqueConnect last Friday.

It’s a digital content hub featuring new 60-minute specials each week. The footage contains “awe-inspiring” show footage and fan-favorite videos with hopes of transporting viewers from the comfort of their safe space.

Cirque de Soleil Fun Facts

  • The mesmerizing acrobatic circus show was first founded in 1984, and has since been put on display for over 180 million people in 450 cities on every continent minus Antarctica.
  • Las Vegas has six permanent Cirque de Soleil shows, with Mystere at Treasure Island being their first permanent show and longest-running show.
  • The shows are expensive to produce: Ka, which premiered in 2005, cost close to $165 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive theatrical-productions in history.

Fountains of Bellagio

The dancing Fountains of Bellagio are among the most iconic venues on the Las Vegas Strip, and with it temporarily being shut down right now, many users have taken to YouTube to upload their footage of the glorious sight.

Here there were in all their glory just last year, dancing to the theme of Game of Thrones.

Fountains of Bellagio Fun Facts

  • The Bellagio fountains hold 22 million gallons of water that’s taken from an on-site well and it fills up 8.5 acres of a man-made lake.
  • The “lake” contains sensors that are able to detect wind strength. If the wind is too strong, the fountains get shut down so that the pressure of the water doesn’t go over boundaries.
  • The fountains are illuminated at night by nearly 5,000 lights.

Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

Take an inside look inside into the UNLV Gallery at the “Connective Tissue” exhibit on this 360-degree virtual tour. It was created by a former neurologist-turned-artist, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiy.

The exhibit features “large scale murals and interactive installations enriched by Phingbodhipakkiya’s belief that power and impact are created through connections and networks.”

“Just as a flawless pirouette requires recruitment and control of nearly every muscle group in a dancer’s body, the things we hope to achieve as a society cannot be done by individual effort alone,” she says, “they require collective action.”

Mirage Volcano

Experience the “big bang” Mirage’s front yard has to offer with their explosive Mirage Volcano show, which you can see aerial footage of below.

Mirage Volcano Fun Facts

  • The Mirage Volcano is set to the driving soundtrack from The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Indian tabla sensation Zakir Hussain
  • Every night, the tranquil waterfall transforms into a fiery explosion, with fire shooting 100 feet up into the night sky.
  • The volcano circulates 119,000 gallons of water per minute, is 54 feet high, and is situated on three water-covered acres.

Neon Museum

Now, exclusively through its app, the Neon Museum is offering free virtual tours. Just remember to enter in the password “NEON” once you download the app. There is also a great selection of video content featuring different sections of the museum on YouTube.

Neon Museum Fun Facts

  • The oldest sign in the Boneyard is the Green Shack sign, which is 80-years-old and is from the 1930’s.
  • The signs are actually huge; the iconic Stardust sign from the former hotel is 188 feet tall and 96 feet wide.
  • The land the museum sits on is incredibly cheap to lease, with the city charging them $1 a year to operate on the property.

The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum website has produced a three-part guided virtual tour to enlighten online viewers who interested in the mob’s rich history in the city.

Mob Museum Fun Facts

  • On February 14, 2020, the museum celebrated its 8th year in operation and offered free admission on Valentine’s Day.
  • There’s an underground speakeasy-style bar on the lowest level of the museum that features unique cocktails.
  • The museum features 20,000 square feet of exhibition space that spans across three floors.

Wynn Las Vegas

On its official Twitter account, Wynn Resorts has been uploading virtual tours and behind-the-scenes videos around the property, including art tours and interviews.

Wynn Las Vegas Fun Facts

  • Wynn boasts a massive art collection that’s second to none on the Strip.
  • It’s the only place on the Strip where you can golf on the resort’s property.
  • It features an upscale shopping mecca.

EarthCam Network Livestreams

The EarthCam Network has live webcams that are set up across the city. It features real-time shots of the “Welcome to the Las Vegas” sign, views of the Fremont Street, and scattered views across the Las Vegas Strip.

If you ever wanted to see a rare sight of the Las Vegas Strip minus the heaps of crowds and heavy traffic, be sure to take a look at this.

 

Third Resorts World Las Vegas Worker Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Resorts World Las Vegas Construction SiteConstruction in Nevada has been deemed essential amid the statewide coronavirus closures. But while it’s business as usual for the state’s construction workers, procedures and policies have been put into place in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among workers.

The procedures came on the heels of the closures and when the first workers tested positive for coronavirus on Las Vegas construction sites. On March 23, the first Resorts World worker tested positive for coronavirus.

On April 1, a second subcontractor on the Resorts World tested positively for coronavirus. The last time the worker was on the site was March 23.

Now, a third worker at the Resorts World construction site has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the developer’s confirmed report on Monday.

While the third positive case of COVID-19 has surfaced, construction is still planned to continue on despite policies being implemented that will aim to minimize further transmission risk.

Construction Allowed During Coronavirus Pandemic

Besides construction being allowed in Nevada, it’s being allowed in many other states across the country. But why?

According to public health experts, since construction work is mainly done outside, where it’s harder for the airborne virus to live, construction sites can still operate safely for the most part. That is if precautions are put into place.

Those precautions still include the social distancing guidelines advised to the general public, which ask for workers to maintain 6 feet of distance when working at all times.

Nevada job sites are also restricting meetings and limiting necessary meetings to less than 10 people. Daily surveys are being taken of workers’ health conditions, as well as extra sanitization of areas to keep workers as safe as possible.

New Wellness Screenings at Resorts World Site

A spokesperson for Genting Group, the developer for Resorts World, advised that as of Monday, management will be implementing required wellness screenings to be done at the start of each shift for every worker.

Management also advised that they will be reducing the size of crews on-site, and installing even more handwashing stations scattered throughout the Nevada job site.

According to the spokesperson, the company is “doing everything we can to ensure prudent preventative policies and procedures are being followed across the job site and that workers are informed of new information and guidelines related to COVID-19 daily.”

Outbreak Seems Well-Contained in the Construction Industry

While some construction workers at Nevada job sites have indeed tested positive for COVID-19, for the most part, the outbreak has seemingly been well-contained in relation to the number of workers on-site, and the hours they put in each day.

Frank Hawk, who is a chairman of a group of Nevada contractors who specialize in carpentry, said that he is “pleasantly surprised at how contained this seems to be in the construction industry.”

Hawk, who advised that his Las Vegas carpenters are putting in 750,000 man-hours of work monthly, hasn’t had a single reported case of an infected union carpenter, and he hopes things continue to stay that way, “knock on wood.”

Other Positive Construction Worker Cases in LV

Another known case of a construction worker testing positive for COVID-19 at a Nevada job site was reported two weeks ago out of Allegiant Stadium.

While the condition of the worker wasn’t stated, the company made this statement in response:

“As a precaution, the location and surrounding areas where the worker labored was shut down and sanitized. ‘Work continues in other areas of the project that remain unaffected.”

The affected worker was said to not be in close contact with others on the site and construction still carried on while implementing more safety protocols.

That individual was told to self-isolate at home for a two-week period before returning to the Allegiant Stadium construction site.

Stay Tuned

While construction is still business as usual in the valley, under new safety operating procedures to protect the workers, of course, it’s still unclear when things will return back to normal in Las Vegas.

Gov. Sisolak recently extended the statewide closures of casinos and nonessential businesses until April 30, and some casinos are counting on that day to reopen and get back to business.

We’ll have to keep monitoring the situation to see how the pandemic unfolds over the next few weeks. Be sure to stay tuned for more coronavirus coverage, and as always, stay safe and healthy out there!

COVID-19 Cases in Clark Country Continue to Climb; 1608 Cases

Clark County, Nevada MapWeek by week, coronavirus cases in Clark County have more than doubled.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, 117 new cases were reported from Sunday, April 6, to early Monday, April 7. That brings the total number of cases statewide to 1,953 from Sunday’s 1,836 total.

Of the 117 new cases, 89 of those cases are in Clark County.

Let’s take a look at the total number of cases in Clark County currently, as well as how Clark County is going about doing testing for the virus.

Clark County Total

Clark county holds the majority of COVID-19 cases in the state. As of today, the figures are are1,608.

The total number of deaths in the state has remained steady with no steep incline. The number of reported deaths in Nevada is 46, with 41 of those deaths reported out of Clark County.

Of the 41 deaths out of Clark County, 25 of those patients had underlying medical conditions. The other 29 patients required intensive care.

In the area, an additional 371 people have been hospitalized. Of that 371, 59 of those people required intensive care units.

According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 17,629 people have been found to be tested. Of the 17,629 tested, 15,700 people came back negative for COVID-19. That number accounts for an 11 percent infection rate.

However, with testing in the Silver State is mainly reserved for those who are seriously ill or who have been in immediate contact with coronavirus, that 11 perfect infection rate is likely inflated.

Testing in Clark County

One of the first drive-thru testing services that opened in Clark County was at an Urgent Care facility on Sahara.

After three days of testing services, Sahara West Urgent Care has to stop their drive-thru COVID-19 testing because of the lack of manpower. The limited number of members who were helping to administer tests had to resolve to working overtime, without getting paid.

Gov. Sisolak, who extended the statewide coronavirus closures until April 30, did so in an effort to prevent local healthcare facilities from getting overwhelmed be caring for patients who either have or could possibly have coronavirus.

Last week, Gov. Sisolak activated the National Guard in hopes of getting the COVID-19 situation in Nevada controlled as best as possible. He has been adamant about requesting more medical supplies for the state from the federal government, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests.

UNLV Offering Drive-Thru Services, But May Run Out of Tests Soon

UNLV also began participating in a curbside coronavirus screening program since March 23, but as of the end of Tuesday, April 7, they could be wiped clean of tests.

Since they’ve began testing, they’ve been able to test 2,000 people. But with drive-thru testing being a highly popular and sought after service in the valley, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the demand.

According to UNLV’s School of Medicine’s spokesperson, Paul Jonich, their call center has been receiving an average of 2,000 inquiries a day during the week of March 23, which is when they opened their drive-thru testing service.

The service is free for individuals, regardless of insurance status, available only by appointment, and results are returned within five to seven days.

Test candidates can contact 702-583-4408 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for an eligibility screening.

At-Home Testing

One local Las Vegas group, Ready Responders, started at-home testing in the Las Vegas Valley last Friday.

Their approach is different in that you can get tested without even leaving your living room. Ready Responders has 30 members who are capable of performing testing come to homes around the Vegas valley.

“You stay in your home you stay safe and we test you,” said Dr. Doug Bushell, a physician with Ready Responders.

“Our responders when they show up will have a full Tyvek suit. It’s a big white suit that they’ll put on. They’ll have goggles. They’ll have gloves, they’ll have an N95 mask.”

Within five to seven days, a private lab will have the results sent to you.

To contact Ready Responders, call (504) 290-2663 or visit their website at ReadyResponders.com for more information.

How COVID-19 Tests Work

Coronavirus sample tests typically involve a swab being pushed deep inside a patient’s nasal cavity or back of the throat to collect cells, then having that swab sent over to a lab for the cells to be inspected.

The testing process is similar in determining if a patient has the flu.

Should Everyone Be Tested?

With the lack of available tests in the country, it isn’t really feasible to test everyone who is sick. Because of this, health official recommends prioritizing testing for the high-risk individuals who need it most.

Those individuals include healthcare workers who have been in direct contact with COVID-19 patients, people exhibiting clear symptoms who are in areas of high infection rates, and people who are 65 years old and older that have chronic, underlying health issues such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.

When there is no longer a shortage of tests, more people who are worried they have it will be able to get tested for some peace of mind.

Social Distancing, Washing Our Hands, and Wearing Masks Is Our Best Bet for Now

With the pandemic’s impact only continuing to worsen, it seems our best fight against it is to continue social distancing to flatten the curve and rate of infection.

Gov. Sisolak recently announced a Stay-At-Home order for Nevada last week, when he announced the extension of casino and nonessential businesses closures.

The order asks that every Nevada stay at home, outside of essential trips like grocery shopping, doctor’s visits, and outside recreational activities like walking. It also asks Nevada residents to maintain not gathering in groups of more than 10 people and keeping 6 feet of distance between people whenever out on essential trips.

Continuing to implement other vital public health measures, like washing our hands for 20 seconds at a time before and after touching public surfaces, and wearing masks will also help to fend off infection.

On Friday, President Trump announced that the “CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth faced covering as an additional voluntary public health measure.”

Stay Tuned

While casino closures have been extended to April 30, it’s hard to say whether an increase in coronavirus cases in the state will push the reopening date back even further. We can only continue to monitor the COVID-19 and await government orders.

Until then, check more for more coronavirus coverage and stay safe and healthy out there.

NBA Update: Las Vegas Only City Seriously Being Considered for 2020 Playoffs

Thomas & Mack CenterThe NBA season was officially suspended March 11 when a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus. With its season in suspension, it makes sports hopefuls wonder if the season can be finished out in any other way.

It looks like any fighting chance for the NBA to resume their season would be for them to hold their playoff games in Las Vegas.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, the NBA is considering holding its entire postseason in Vegas. Vegas, which is home to the Association’s annual Summer League, which is held in Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center.

Sources revealed to Mannix that the league was looking to resume their play in a viable city, but that the NBA’s traditional postseason of four rounds of best-of-seven series wouldn’t take place. While the league is considering their options, they are “nowhere close to formalizing anything” as of yet.

According to the New York Post, the league has been searching for te perfect “one-site, fan-less, 16-team playoff and a five-to-seven-game regular-season prelude.”

Another prominent city that has its eye on hosting the league. Atlantic City’s mayor is currently trying to lure the league to the boardwalk and believes AC would be the proper space to hold the NBA playoffs.

Quarantining in One Location is the Only Real Option

For the NBA to resume their season, Mannix explained that the only real way this could work is by “quarantining in one location.” His source added that “Vegas is the only city the NBA is currently giving any kind of serious consideration.”

So, why Vegas?

Well, for one, the NBA already has an extensive history and relationship with the city and its civic leaders. Another major selling point is the abundance of venues and hotel rooms that Las Vegas has to offer compared with other major US cities.

Vegas could easily stage the entire playoffs without running into issues that less-equipped cities would likely have. The amount of space would also help ensure the safety of the players, especially if a single site is the only option amid the nationwide quarantine.

Potential for Playoffs Rests on COVID-19 Escalation

Of course, the only real way for the playoffs and the NBA season to even resume is if the COVID-19 situation deescalates on a global scale. With it nearing what’s predicting to be its worse level in the coming weeks, travel restrictions will continue to be enforced.

Currently, there are over a dozen NBA players who have tested positively for coronavirus, and the number of cases continues to grow exponentially.

The safety of the players and members of the league remains the utmost priority during these challenging times.

“I mean, the only thing I know is that we’re going to put safety first and we’re not going to take any chances. We’re not going to do anything that risks the health of our players, our fans, our staff, the whole organization,” said Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

Diamond Resorts Offering Free Rooms to First Responders Worldwide

Timeshare RoomDiamond Resorts, a luxury timeshare company, announced that they will be offering free rooms to first responders and medical personnel at their properties worldwide and in Las Vegas.

It’s a company statement released Friday, they said the accommodations were part of their global initiative to “help provide those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with safe, comfortable and convenient places to rest while they carry out their critical work.”

“At Diamond Resorts the first thing we say to our members, owners and guests arriving at our properties is “welcome home.” While those who can stay at home, our courageous medical personnel and first responders are working tirelessly on the front lines of this crisis.”

Diamond Resorts expressed that they are proud to be able to support the men and women who are risking their lives every day for the safety of the country by providing them with a “home away from home.” as their way of saving a gracious thank you.

In that same statement, the company announced that all of the Diamond-managed properties around the world will be participating in offering these complimentary accommodations.

Diamond Resorts say that their suites are “particularly well-suited” to adhere to social distancing guidelines, as they’re larger than typical hotel rooms. Most suites also conveniently include full, in-suite kitchens, which feature full-size refrigerators, ovens, and stoves.

Suites also include full bathrooms and laundry facilities.

Implementing Stringent Safety Procedures

The company also advised that they would be implementing stringent safety procedures to help protect those with a greater risk of exposure to the virus while maintaining the health and safety of their staff.

These procedures include check-in and check-out being made without any contact, additional cleaning and disinfectant protocols, and 72-hours between the same rooms being used.

Supporting Local Communities

As well as providing free lodging to the brave first responders, the company is also looking for ways to support local communities, such as donating food and other critical supplies to food pantries. Some properties are also utilizing their parking lots as testing sites.

“Now more than ever, we are committed to doing everything we can to support our local communities.”

Diamond Resorts CEO Mike Flaske & the entire Diamond Team believes that together, we can overcome the crisis by lending a helping hand to one another.

Diamond Resorts Open Properties and Locations

Diamond Resorts, which is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, has properties all over the globe and the US. In total, they have a network of over 379 vacation destinations in 35 different countries.

Diamond Resort has five Las Vegas properties which include:

Cancun Resort Las Vegas, 8335 S Las Vegas Blvd, (702) 614-6200

Desert Paradise Resort, 5165 S Decatur Blvd, (702) 579-3600

Polo Towers Suites, 3745 S Las Vegas Blvd, (702) 261-1000

Polo Towers Villas, 3745 S Las Vegas Blvd, (702) 261-1000

The Carriage House, 105 E Harmon Ave, (702) 798-1020

Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit Also Offering Free Rooms to First Responders

Just a few days ago, the Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, Michigan announced that they would be offering complimentary rooms to first responders in the area.

The casino-hotel is seeking to serve as a safe zone for first responders who have fears that they’ve possibly come into contact with the virus while on their jobs, to prevent spreading at home to their families.

According to reports, there are 40 rooms available for first responders in the area to use. As a precaution, those who enter the casino-hotel will undergo certain safety precautions, like a medical examination and having their temperature checked.

About Diamond Resorts

Diamond Resorts offers destinations, events and experiences to help members make a habit of breaking from the routine. From unforgettable getaways to exclusive concert series to VIP receptions and dinners, members turn to Diamond to recharge, reconnect and remind each other what matters most. Our focus on quality resorts, customer service and flexibility means members can return to a favorite resort, book a cruise to explore new countries or attend a once-in-a-lifetime event with the same level of confidence and anticipation. With access to a world of entertainment and activities, a Diamond membership ensures that people are always looking forward to vacation. 

From their official website.

For reservations, call1.800.438.2929 or email [email protected]

Caesars Entertainment Furloughs 90% of U.S. Employees

Caesars Entertainment LogoOn Thursday, Caesars Entertainment announced that due to economic downfall caused by the coronavirus casino closures, they would be furloughing roughly 90 percent of its staff in the U.S.

This decision came on the heels of government officials extending shutdowns and social distancing guidelines. Originally, Nevada casinos were to be shut down for 30 days, scheduled to reopen April 16. Gov. Sisolak has since extended the shut down until April 30.

With their property closed, the financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted the company to temporarily move to a “minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations.”

The furloughs will affect the company’s domestic employees, including corporate staff members.

Tony Rodio, Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment said the company has been taking “difficult but necessary steps to protect the company’s financial position and its ability to recover when circumstances allow us to reopen and begin welcoming our guests and employees back to our properties.”

When the furloughed employees have an opportunity to return to work, it might be under new ownership as reports have been circulating that Eldorado Resorts may be closing a $17.3 billion deal with Caesars come June.

Two Weeks Pay, PTO, and Health Care Premiums Paid

In an effort to help those employees who are being furloughed, the company will pay their first two weeks, at their current pay rate. Employees will then be able to utilize any paid time off after that check comes through.

For those employees who are under the Caesars health care plan, they will have their premiums covered until June 30, or until they return back to work.

Las Vegas Gaming Companies Who Are Paying Their Employees During Casinos Closures

Las Vegas Sands Founder, Chairman, and CEO Sheldon Adelson outlined his plans to pay his U.S. employees in a New York Post piece.

Adelson said that the company will be paying their 10,000 US employees, all of which who are out of work during this time, for the next two months. It’s an act of generosity and immense help for out-of-work employees, and Adelson is hoping other gaming executives will follow suit.

“The coming weeks will be tough, and the months that follow will be unsteady,” Adelson wrote. “To my fellow business leaders, let us lead by example.”

Wynn Resorts announced earlier this week that they would be paying their 15,000 workers in Las Vegas and Boston combined until May 15. Keeping employees on payroll allow their salaried, part-time, and hourly workers to receive two months-worth of wages from the date that Wynn properties closed.

Station Casinos announced that all hourly and salaried full-time workers will receive normal pay, as well as insurance benefits, until April 30.

Lastly, MGM Resorts will be utilizing its emergency relief fund to help their employees out during this challenging time. Currently, the fund has $4 million in it with gracious donation provided by the company, singer Bruno Mars, who has a Las Vegas residency this year, and Kirk Kerkorian, the estate of MGM founder.

Atlantic City Mayor Says He Wants NBA in His City Post Coronavirus

Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic CityOn Tuesday, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. says he’s trying to lure the NBA to return to the city after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

While that’s wishful thinking, given the current state of NBA’s entire season being canceled during the COVID-19 crisis, it would give AC residents something to look forward to during these challenging times if the Mayor’s wishes were fulfilled.

“It is my goal to recruit and bring people here,” Small Sr. said during a Facebook Livestream. “We are trying to work that out and bring the NBA here once things settle down a little bit. There is a possibility that once things are back to normal that the NBA could be playing some of its games at Boardwalk Hall.”

Boardwalk Hall Would Serve as Location for Games

Mayor Small Sr. kept pretty mums about the depth of these talks with the National Basketball Association, and it’s unsure whether he’s been in direct contact with league officials or the extent to which these conversations have progressed.

But, Boardwalk Hall is the recommended location that the NBA would play their games at, should the league choose to return to Atlantic City.

NBA Season Suspended Since Mid-March

On March 11, the NBA suspended its season. The decision came quickly once Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. When news broke out on this, it prompted a sports world shutdown and 58 other members of the organization to get tested.

The NBA was the first of the major professional sports leagues to cancel their season. The very next day, the NHL, MLB, MLS, U.S. Soccer, and multiple tennis associations followed suit and suspended their seasons as well.

March is a highly anticipated time for basketball lovers, with both the NCAA championships and March Madness. Once NCAA was subsequently canceled, they gave the following statement:

“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”

Why More NBA Players Are Testing Positive for COVID-19

The thinking behind this is that since basketball was having its regular season going during the virus outbreak, more players were in direct contact with the general public, as well as other people who are affiliated with the league.

But, the same logic can be applied to anyone who regularly frequented packed places, like the New York City subway or a busy airport.

So far, these NBA players, members, or teams have announced positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Marcus Smart, of the Boston Celtics
  • Kevin Durant, of the Brooklyn Nets
  • A member of the Denver Nuggets
  • Christian Wood, of the Detroit Pistons
  • Two players from the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Three members from the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Donovan Mitchell, of the Utah Jazz

Officials Considering Single-Site, Fan-less, 16-Team Playoff to Happen in a “Neutral City”

According to the New York Post, the league is looking into having a “one-site, fan-less, 16-team playoff and a five-to-seven-game regular-season prelude.”

This seems to be the NBA’s current plan given the current pandemic and utilizing one, fan-less site would create more of a television-only event, which would more properly adhere to current social distancing guidelines.

Considering their current plan, Atlantic City would fit the bill as an ideal host city for the tournament. For one, there’s plenty of hotel space that can be used for the teams, and the city itself is close to major television headquarters, which would make finding production labor an easier task.

Atlantic City is also close to the league’s headquarters, which is in New York. Other locations that are under consideration for the tournament are Las Vegas, Louisville, Orlando, and Hawaii.

Stay Tuned

It’s unclear what the remainder of the sports season will look like during the worsening pandemic, but it’s interesting to think about what the NBA might look like should they decide to resume their season.

It’s hard to tell with an everchanging situation of this magnitude. We can only hope that athletes stay healthy during this period and come back even stronger once the curve flattens. Stay tuned for more news.

Former Nevada Gov. Sandoval Leaves Executive Position at MGM

Brian Sandoval at PodiumFormer Nevada Governor, Brian Sandoval, who served as Nevada’s 29th governor from 2011-2019 and was succeeded by current Governor Sisolak, has announced that he will be leaving his executive position at MGM Resorts to pursue a position at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).

Sandoval joined MGM in January 2019 and served as the company’s President of Global Gaming Development. He has applied to become president of UNR, according to Wednesday’s press release.

Acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle expressed his gratitude for Sandoval’s accomplishments and visible commitment during his time at MGM:

“We are grateful to Governor Sandoval for all that he has accomplished in his time at MGM Resorts. He helped to advance our efforts in Japan, in jurisdictions where we were seeking expanded access, and areas where we pursued sports betting opportunities.”

Sandoval returned the gratitude to MGM Resorts, saying that he was “grateful for the opportunity and privilege to have worked at MGM” and that after having accomplished his goals for the prestigious company, he would be focusing his energy and efforts into hopefully becoming UNR’s next president.

In his closing statement, he wished everyone “good health and safety during these challenging times.”

How MGM is Doing During the COVID-19 Crisis

Currently, all of MGM’s U.S. properties are closed, as well as every other casino in the country during the coronavirus closures.

The group has been experiencing “substantial losses” amid the coronavirus, with their market shares dropping and suffering from high group cancelations.

In the company’s casino and hotel update, they expressed the negative impact the pandemic has had on their operations, stating that the company had major operating losses in March and that they don’t “expect to see a material improvement until more is known regarding the duration and severity of the pandemic, including when the company’s properties can re-open to the public.”

Macau Properties are Open, but Visitation is at Low Levels

When COVID-19 first broke out in China, MGM’s Macau properties, along with the over 40 other Macau casinos, were forced to shut their doors for over two weeks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Since then, Macau has reopened its casinos, but it hasn’t met that business has returned to normal.

MGM advised in a statement that the company’s Macau properties are another problem in and of itself, with visitation remaining at low levels, not to mention the travel constraints that continue to impact the gaming and tourism market as a whole.

MGM Looks to Cut Expenses During this Time

Not surprisingly, MGM has outlined its plans to cut operating costs to mitigate the losses they’ve incurred due to the global pandemic.

They’ve estimated that 60-70% of their domestic operating expenses are variable and that they would look to cut those variable expenses first. This includes hiring freezes, furloughs, and reduction of staff.

They also stated that they would freeze a minimum of 33% of their domestic capital spending projects this year.

Excluding its MGM China and MGM Growth Properties, MGM had approximately $3.9 billion in operating cash and cash investment balances as of March 26.

The company believes that with its “strong liquidity position, valuable unencumbered assets and aggressive cost reduction initiatives will enable it to fund its current obligations for the foreseeable future.”

EDC Festival Postponed to October

EDC Festival Las VegasIt’s official. The Electric Daily Carnival, otherwise known as EDC, will be postponing its highly anticipated annual dance-music festival to October 2-4. It was originally scheduled to take place on May 15-17.

Insomniac Events founder and CEO, Pasquale Rotella, was adamant at keeping it as originally scheduled back in early mid-March, despite the early coronavirus scare and the fluidity of the situation back then.

But with the current state of the pandemic, they’ve decided the safest, most wise decision is to postpone it until this fall.

It was confirmed by Billboard that the 10th edition of the festival will indeed be moved to October, despite the official announcement being made.

An official announcement by promoter Insomniac, which will detail ticket holder information and options, can be expected to be made within the next several days.

Insomniac made an earlier decision to postpone their Beyond Wonderland festival, which was scheduled to take place March 20-21 in Southern California, to June 19-20 instead.

A Sold Out Show

EDC Las Vegas 2020 sold out within a record-breaking 48 hours, the fastest it’s ever sold out says organizers.

The originally scheduled lineup set included David Guetta, The Chainsmokers, Carl Cox, DJ Snake, Richie Hawtin, Major Lazer, Tiësto, Zedd, along with 200 other performers.

It’s currently unsure whether the postponed date will affect the lineup, but you can expect to see more details within the coming week.

COVID-19 Disrupts Major Live Music Events Nationwide

EDC is just the latest in a string of live music events that have been either postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the largest music events canceled this year was the 34th annual edition SXSW festival, a week-long event featuring music, technology, and film in Austin, Texas. The festival is the city’s biggest, and brings an estimated $300 million into the Austin economy.

In a statement released by festival organizers, it was the first time in 34 years that their March event was canceled. It was originally set to take place between March 13-22.

EDC also joins The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival rescheduled date of October. Coachella is set to take place Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18, instead of its original April 24-26 date.

The country music festival, Stagecoach, also set in Southern California, was also postponed. Instead of its original April date, it will now take place Oct. 23-25.

New EDC Date Viable Option for Las Vegas Speedway

The good news is, the festival’s new date is aligned with Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s current schedule. Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) has hosted the festival since 2011, with Insomniac signing a 10-year contract with LVMS to host EDC through 2022.

Other big events scheduled around the time of EDC at the Speedway are South Point 400 Weekend, a NASCAR Cup series, scheduled for September 25- 27, and the Dodge NHRA Nationals, another major race, scheduled for Oct. 29-Nov 1.

EDC Rescheduling Conflicts

While Insomniac Rotella originally had hoped to possibly reschedule the festival to June, the month it was held back when it was still being held in Los Angeles, he thought it might be too hot for Camp EDC, especially with the Las Vegas summers.

A June date would also conflict with their other large music festival, Beyond Wonderland, which was postponed for June 19-20.

Right now, October seems like the safest option, especially with the impact of the pandemic continuing to worsen.

Stay Tuned

Don’t make plans just yet. If there’s anything this pandemic is showing us, is that it’s best not to make any solid commitments. Keep a lookout for Insomniac’s official announcement of when EDC will be officially postponed and what you can do if you’re an EDC ticket holder.

 

Gov. Sisolak Issues Stay-At-Home Order for Nevadans

"Give Corona No Chance! Stay Home" GraphicOn Wednesday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak joined 37 other states in issuing a statewide stay-at-home order for Nevadans.

The directive will affect Nevada’s 3 million residents and asks them not to leave their homes except for essential trips, like grocery shopping, health visits, or engagement in outdoor recreation. It urges Nevadans not to congregate in groups of more than 10, and not to use this time to visit friends and engage in hangouts.

The order has been put into place to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread in the Silver State.

With Nevada now joining the majority of the other states, which includes some of America’s largest cities, in enacting the stay-at-home order, over 75% of the U.S. population is in an official coronavirus quarantine.

In a statement, Sisolak advised that this new directive “strengthens the imperative that Nevadans must not leave their homes for nonessential activities in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This directive builds on previous directives around school closures, social distancing, closure of nonessential businesses, and bans on public gatherings of 10 or more people by requiring you stay at home unless leaving is absolutely necessary.”

Governor Also Activates National Guard

During his Wednesday press conference, Gov. Sisolak also announced that he activated the National Guard’s help as part of measures to deal with the pandemic.

According to Nevada National Guard Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, who was in attendance during the briefing, said the activation order put them in alignment with what’s already going on around the country.

He also assured those with critical jobs, like first responders and medical personnel, that their jobs wouldn’t be taken away as a result of the order.

“Probably the biggest thing that will be important is the logistics standpoint,” Berry explained. “There are so many people who are providing supplies, (personal protective equipment), giving us support, and so we will help with that.”

How States Can Maintain Control of the Troops

In order for a state to gain access to the troops, the state must be under Title 32 status. President Trump has since placed 12 states and territories under Title 32 status.

What does Title 32 status require?

Among other requirements, the state must make a major disaster declaration made for the outbreak response or have the Federal Emergency Management Agency review their request while explaining how they plan to use the troops.

Guards That Have Been Deployed Around the Country

In New York, the hardest-hit state, there are more than 27,000 guards on the ground in the country’s coronavirus epicenter. They’ve been setting up temporary hospitals, helping deliver vital supplies, clearing out roads, taking coronavirus samples to test centers and helping out at call centers.

In Michigan, there are around 3,000 troops who have been helping operate mobile screening centers, distributing food and medical supplies, and sanitizing public spaces.

In Arizona, a group of 19 National Guard troops assisted in building a 50-bed federal medical station this past Sunday night.

In Iowa, eight troops help to set up two tents at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which serves to screen people who might have contracted the virus.

In Pennsylvania, 25 troops worked to unload equipment at the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to build a non-coronavirus overflow clinic at one of the state’s shut down schools.

In West Virginia, around 350 guard members have helped deliver medical supplies to various healthcare facilities, as well as educating members from different sectors, like retail stores, restaurants, and convenience stores, on the importance of protective measures.

Expectations for Staying-At-Home

The new stay-at-home order carries over the Governor’s original directive to only allow essential trips like buying groceries, doctor visits, and outdoor recreation.

Essential trips should keep social distancing guidelines in practice, which ask people to maintain 6 feet of distance at all times, even outdoors. Besides household members, the order asks for people not to congregate in groups.

The order, however, doesn’t prevent people from picking up food through drive-thru restaurants or curbside pickup. This way, the local restaurant industry can still be supported by residents throughout this period of closure.

Those who work for essential businesses are still permitted to go to work with the order, of course. The order does exempt homeless people from the stringent stay-at-home requirements, while still asking unhoused individuals to maintain the required distance of space from one another.

The Governor’s latest directive comes a day after he issued an urgent request asking all visiting or returning travelers to Nevada to self-quarantine for 14 days to reduce the risk of potentially spreading the risk.

Urging Residents to Take Social Distancing Seriously

The Governor’s latest order comes on the heels of the federal government extending social distancing guidelines nationally to April 30, but also from his extended frustration that some Nevada residents weren’t taking social distancing and self-isolation seriously.

“We’re asking our citizens to cooperate,” Gov. Sisolak urged. “You’ve seen it before. I’ve had to ask, and then I’ve had to direct. You know, I am asking people to stay home for Nevada. Our law enforcement officers are busy dealing with everything that we’ve put in place.”

He added that “it’s frustrating when I drive around town, whether it’s up here or in Southern Nevada, and I see 10 kids at a basketball court.”

For Nevadans that work in essential businesses, ranging from grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, emergency responders, doctors, and nurses, who have to remain in daily contact with people, the Governor recognized their immense sacrifice and offered his thanks in the 35-minute briefing.

He touched on the fact that many of these workers, like delivery truck drivers or grocery store stockers, never anticipated putting their lives in the line of danger when they got the job, but that they’ve been “stepping up to help our state,” and he’s asking every Nevadan to do the same.

How Self-Quarantining Helps Flatten the Curve

While staying home for the past few weeks has been tough for many Americans, it really is for the greater good.

When more people stay at home, away from the general public, it greatly reduces the spread of infection and helps to effectively “flatten the curve.”

It’s not that self-quarantining helps to reduce the total amount of people who catch COVID-19, but it works to slow the rate it which they do get sick.

It’s expected that the worst of the pandemic will be seen within the next two weeks, which makes self-quarantining even more vital to order to help contain the spread of the outbreak as much as possible.

According to Drew Harris, a population health researcher and assistant professor at The Thomas Jefferson University College of Public Health, closing down public spaces helps effectively control people’s desires to be in public spaces. When the opportunities for gatherings are reduced, it helps people social distance properly.

Major Cities in Self-Quarantine

Currently, 270 million Americans are being asked to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the first states to enact the stay-at-home order was New York, where the virus began spreading rapidly once it hit U.S. shores. Most recently, Washington D.C. has joined the list of major cities to issue a stay-at-home order.

Other major cities under lockdown include Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Salt Lake City.

This type of order also helps to prevent healthcare systems from getting overwhelmed. The more people who stay at home, the less likely they are to contract the virus.

Only five states have no standing ordering from the state or local governments asking them to stay home. Those states are Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Stay Tuned

With 90% of Americans under self-quarantine, we estimated it won’t be too long for the last remaining states to follow suit. Be sure to check back for more COVID-19 updates. Stay safe and sane out there during this troubling time.

Las Vegas Sands Donating 2 Million Pieces of PPE to NV and NY

Medical Staff Wearing Personal Protective Equipment and StretchingLas Vegas Sands Company announced on Tuesday that they would be donating an astonishing two million medical masks, one million going to New York and one million going to Nevada, and 20,000 protective suits to Nevada’s health care industry.

The suits will be spread out among health-care professionals, nonprofit organizations, and first responders in the state.

While Las Vegas’ economy is among the worst hit in the nation, New York leads the country in most confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths and is being referred to as the epicenter of the outbreak.

“Hopefully our donations will help protect people on the front lines so they can continue their invaluable work, and we can start to see the numbers of people affected begin to diminish,” Sands Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon G. Adelson said in a statement.

“Our properties in Las Vegas may be empty right now, but our hearts are full of hope for the future. The determination and courage I have seen in our Team Members, which I know is the same throughout this country, gives me every confidence we will get through this unprecedented crisis.”

Las Vegas Sands’ generous contributions mark their second wave of personal protective equipment (PPE) donations. Prior to this donation, the company gave 100,000 masks to the local Las Vegas healthcare community and 5,000 masks Las Vegas Metro Police Department. They also donated 1,900 coronavirus test kits to the state of Nevada.

COVID-19 Situation in New York

According to Adelson, the state of New York is in desperate need of surgical masks among other PPE. This is evident in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plea for health care reinforcements. Cuomo advised that nearly one million healthcare workers are needed to help fight coronavirus, especially in NYC.

“People are looking to New York as a bellwether for what comes next, both in terms of the pandemic’s impact and for how quickly the region, particularly New York City, is able to recover from the aftermath of the virus,” Adelson said. “It’s important we steer resources to the places where the need is the greatest and most urgent.”

As of today, there are at least 83,712 confirmed cases of coronavirus statewide, with over half of those cases in New York City, which has 47,439 cases. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in New York state is 1,941, making it the largest number of reported cases and deaths in the country.

The majority of COVID-19 deaths are out of NYC as well, which has 1,096 of the 1,941 reported deaths.

Right now, 12,226 people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, with 3,022 in intensive care. At least 6,142 coronavirus patients have been discharged.

COVID-19 Situation in Nevada

Nevada’s reported numbers are nowhere near the gravity of New York’s, but the number is continuing to increase, and nearly double, over the last few weeks.

As of today, there are 1,279 cases of COVID-19 statewide, according to figures from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. In Clark County, there are 961 positive cases as of Tuesday, March 31.

Of those cases, 28 patients have died from the virus, while 198 people are being hospitalized.

So far, 12,798 people have tested for COVID-19 in the state, with 11,519 people coming back negative for the disease.

Local Healthcare Workers Express Gratitude for Supplies

The healthcare industry in Southern Nevada is expressing their extreme gratitude for the generous, much-needed donation by Las Vegas Sands, saying it’s an act of compassion they will never forget.

“Words can’t express our gratitude to the Las Vegas Sands Corp.,” said Karla Perez, regional vice president of the Valley Health System. “We are humbled by the extent to which our community is reaching out to caregivers at this challenging time to make sure we are protected. We will never forget this act of compassion and goodwill.”

Gordon Absher, a spokesman for Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, echoed the sentiment.

“We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from companies big and small… “We’ve always known we can count on the support of our neighbors when faced with adversity.”

Governor Sisolak Is Also Offering High Praise

Governor Sisolak’s office also had to comment on the incredible generosity being offered by Las Vegas Sands Company, especially during a period of uncertainty for the casino industry.

“The governor is very grateful to the Las Vegas Sands Corp. — and all others who have stepped up and helped — for flying in a million masks and 20,000 protective suits for Nevada,” said Ryan McInerney, Sisolak’s communications director. “This generous donation will undoubtedly help our health care workers, hospitals, and first responders save and protect the lives of thousands of Nevadans.”

This is an enormous help for Gov. Sisolak, whose been making adamant requests to the federal government for test kits, PPE, and ventilators.

The Governor says Nevada is on a definite backlog for COVID-19 testing kits, despite making four requests to the government.

PPE Shortage Across America

There has been a national shortage of personal protective equipment within these last few weeks, and it’s causing U.S. health systems to come up with creative strategies to converse their current stock of supplies while figuring out ways to have more supplies provided.

Some of those creative strategies include the reuse of face masks and respirators. According to CDC guidelines, respirators should not be reused more than five times.

Certain healthcare facilities are also using UV disinfection to adequately clean personal protective equipment that will be reused.

“Even with the infusion of supplies from the strategic stockpile and other federal resources, there will not be enough medical supplies, including ventilators, to respond to the projected COVID-19 outbreak,” a March 21 letter from the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, and American Nurses Association read. “We have heard of health care providers reusing masks or resorting to makeshift alternatives for masks.”

Supply and demand is a big reason for the issue, and this makes sense when, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, China made nearly half of the world’s face masks. With the virus outbreak, it caused China and other countries to begin hoarding these important medical supplies.

Sands Keeps on Giving

Las Vegas Sands Company is not only being generous in their PPE donations to the healthcare sector, but to various organizations during this time of dire need.

The company made a pledge to contribute $250,000 to several local organizations that play an immensely vital role in providing for the community.

Those organizations include Three Square, Southern Nevada’s biggest hunger-relief organization; Communities in Schools, which serves to give meals to underprivileged students; and Share Village Las Vegas, a program that offers assistance to veterans which also runs a community food pantry.

On top of their community contributions, the company has also provided 60 pallets of food and over 55,000 water bottles to various local organizations.

The company is also paying all its 10,000 Las Vegas staff members during the casino closures, including covering full health-care benefits for each individual.

How Much is Las Vegas Sands Losing in Coronavirus Closures?

It’s hard to estimate the financial impact during the ongoing closures, but we know that Las Vegas Sands was one of the first major Las Vegas casino companies to be affected by government-ordered casino closures when Macau’s 41 casinos were shut down for 15 days in February.

We do know that last Friday, Las Vegas Sands Corp. disclosed in an SEC filing that its Sands China Ltd. subsidiary is looking for a waiver that would exempt them from filing a financial compliance certificate needed for the Macao branch of the Bank of China. This would be in exchange for a consent fee.

About Las Vegas Sands Company

The Las Vegas Sands Company includes world-famous US properties including The Venetian, The Palazzo, Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, as well as its overseas properties in Macau, China, including Sands Macao, The Venetian Macau, The Plaza Macao, The Parisian Macao, Marina Bay Sands, and Sands Cotai Central.

Las Vegas Sands is the pre-eminent developer and operator of world-class Integrated Resorts that feature luxury hotels, best-in-class gaming, retail, dining and entertainment, Meetings, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) facilities, and many other business and leisure amenities.  We pioneered the MICE-driven Integrated Resort, a unique, industry leading and extremely successful product that serves both the business and leisure tourism markets.

From their official website.

Stay Tuned

We’re glad that during this period of worldwide uncertainty that extends to the Las Vegas casino industry, that casino operators are stepping up and helping out those in times of desperate need.

We can only hope that the medical and health needs of the country will be fulfilled during this time and that it will help flatten the curve, which will allow things to return to normal.

Until then, stay tuned for the latest updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on this great city.

Some Strip Resorts Are Already Booking Rooms for Day After Shutdown

Las Vegas Strip at NightThe 30-day, mandated shutdown of Nevada casinos and most nonessential businesses was originally scheduled to end April 16, but some Las Vegas casino-resorts are eager to begin booking up their properties again.

On certain properties’ websites, like Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Wynn Resorts, rooms were available for booking beginning on April 17. Las Vegas Sands Corporation was also offering room bookings starting on April 20.

These specific properties’ room bookings were available on Tuesday morning, however, with Gov. Sisolak’s new closure extension that’s calling for all gaming properties, nonessential businesses, and schools to remain closed until April 30th, it’s surely thrown a wrench in those planned earlier bookings.

“Today’s ‘Stay at Home’ directive strengthens the imperative that Nevadans must not leave their homes for nonessential activities in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Sisolak said in a press release. “This directive builds on previous directives around school closures, social distancing, closure of non-essential businesses, and bans on public gatherings of 10 or more people by requiring you stay at home unless leaving is absolutely necessary.”

On the other gaming properties’ websites, including MGM Resorts International, Red Rock Resorts, and Boyd Gaming Corporation, their room bookings aren’t being offered until May 1, which seems like the more likely time of return with the Mayor’s recent extension.

Will Properties Fill Up, Post Shutdown?

That’s a tough question. On one hand, an antsy, quarantined national population will likely want to get out and about once we’re all freely able to travel and be in large groups again.

On the other hand, citizens may still be leery about traveling to a densely populated area like the Las Vegas Strip, especially if COVID-19 is still in the air.

“I think (tourists will return) in waves,” Applied Analysis principal Jeremy Aguero said. “They’ll have to feel safe, and the economic impacts of this (outbreak) will have effects on travel.”

What Will Room Rates Look Like, Post Shutdown?

According to Aguero, he says guests can likely expect lower room rates once the Las Vegas properties open their doors up again.

He thinks operators will “try to increase occupancy, and pricing is going to be a lever,” he said. “We’ve seen operators use this (strategy) in the past, and we have every expectation they’ll utilize it in the future.”

So what are room rates looking like right now?

Well, rooms at Caesars Palace and MGM’s Mandalay Bay are starting at $99 on their projected reopening date.

You can snag a room at the Red Rock Resort of Palms for even less, as they’re starting at $79 on May 1. A room at The Venetian is being advertised with the starting rate of $119.25 on April 20.

Boyd’s Aliante in North Las Vegas is offering rooms starting at $150 on May 1. While a stay at the Wynn is on the pricier end of the bunch, starting at $259 on April 17.

According to a statement by MGM representatives found on the company’s website, the company will “continue to monitor the situation and communicate any changes,” adding “while we look forward to getting back to the business of entertaining you soon, right now we are singularly focused on the well-being of our employees and our visitors from around the world.”

What Does the Outlook Look Like for Returning Guests?

According to STR and Tourism Economics, an analytics company, their March report (which excluded Las Vegas) projected that the U.S. hotel industry will report a 50.6 drop in revenue per available room (otherwise known as REVPAR).

That decline in revenue is due to obvious factors, like the virus outbreak and its affected shutdowns.

“The industry was already set for a non-growth year, now throw in this ultimate ‘black swan’ event, and we’re set to see occupancy drop to an unprecedented low,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior vice president of lodging insights, in a statement presented on March 30.

According to Aguero, it’s still premature to predict how the coronavirus pandemic will ultimately impact the Las Vegas tourism and REVPAR. Important, telling factors, like the length of the outbreak’s effects and the dent it will put into the local tourism industry need to be considered first.

“There are some scenarios that turn out better than that, and there are also those that turn out worse,” he said. “It’s going to be the trajectory of the virus that’s the determining factor for the trajectory of the tourism industry…When are people going to feel comfortable traveling again? Comfortable being in groups?” Aguero asked.

Survey Gives Some Insight

In a survey conducted by research firm, The Harris Poll, which took place the weekend of March 21, it found that around 15% of Americans said they would wait another couple to few months once the curve of the virus flattened out in order feel comfortable and confident enough to visit a casino again.

But, there’s another group of people who are eager to step foot into a casino just as soon as they’re able to again.

That group includes Oregon-resident, Makayla Melton. Melton has high hopes that things will return back to normal in Las Vegas by May, as she already booked round-trip tickets, which she snagged for under $100, and plans to stay at Luxor for a comfortable five days.

Melton, who will be a first-time Vegas visitor, is counting on casinos to be up and running by the time of her planned trip.

Flying itself isn’t a big concern of hers amid the outbreak, as she said she’ll be taking extra precautions to maintain her health while traveling to the city of lights.

“I’ll be careful, but I wanted to jump at the opportunity since everything was so cheap,” Melton expressed while hoping for the best. “The trip could be canceled last minute, but if it’s not it’ll be a lot of fun.”

Stay Tuned

Well, one thing is more certain despite all the changes currently going on, and that’s that April is expected to be an oddly quiet month on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.

At least there’s more of a solid timeline on how long the Strip will stay shutdown for, per Gov. Sisolak’s latest stay-at-home order.

Be sure to keep an eye out on the different Strip properties’ websites to see if rates go down any further, and check back for more updates regarding Las Vegas casinos amid the coronavirus closures.

Will you be planning to make a trip down here when this all smooths over? Let us know in the comments below!

LV Turns Marked Parking Lot into Makeshift Homeless Shelter

Empty Parking LotAfter an overnight shelter offering 500 beds closed over the weekend due to a resident testing posting for coronavirus, authorities in Las Vegas were left to look elsewhere for a sleeping space that could adequately host the city’s large homeless population.

Both the Clark County and the City of Las Vegas issued a joint statement announcing that the Catholic Charities shelter will be temporarily closed due to the incident, but that they plan to reopen their shelter midweek.

With the announcement of the shelter closing, 500 of Las Vegas’ homeless population were scrambling to find a place to stay. The best option authorities came up in a pinch was turning the empty parking lot inside of Cashman Center into a temporary shelter.

White boxes were drawn onto the pavement as “social distancing markers” where the homeless could sleep while adhering to the federal guidelines of keeping 6-feet of space between each individual.

According to the City, the Cashman Center building space is being reserved as potential hospital overflow should the need arise with the number of coronavirus cases jumping quickly.

Touro Medical Students Help Set Up Shelter

Nearly a dozen medical and physician assistant students from Touro University donated their time and energy to help set up the makeshift shelter space over the weekend, making it ready for the city’s sizable homeless population in record time.

Currently, there are an estimated 6,500 homeless individuals in the valley who camp out on the city’s streets or storm drains at any given time.

Enough Space, But Shortage of Sleeping Mats

While a 24,000-sq-ft carpet was initially going to be used for individuals to sleep on, it was axed since it can’t be power washed and “adequately sanitized.”

The replacement? Laying down single blue mats for individual people to use since they’re much easier to clean. Unfortunately, there’s not enough to around for everyone, and for individuals who didn’t get access to a mat, they slept on white blankets on the ground instead.

“We don’t have enough mats for everyone,” a city spokesperson said. “We are trying to get more but are having a hard time. We’ll continue to provide this temporary respite, while practicing social distancing, for anyone who is suffering from homelessness.”

Internet Critics of the Parking Lot Shelter

While unhoused locals are expressing their gratitude for the respite the temporary homeless shelter is providing, like Denise Lankford, who says the designated space is making them feel “secure” and “safe,” other Las Vegas residents are criticizing the conditions via Twitter, after seeing photos of the parking lot.

One such critic is Julián Castro, former presidential hopeful and mayor of San Antonio, who once served as the secretary of housing under Barack Obama.

“After criminalizing homelessness this year, Las Vegas is now packing people into concrete grids out of sight,” Castro tweeted. “There are 150K hotel rooms in Vegas going unused right now. How about public-private cooperation (resources) to temporarily house them there? And fund permanent housing!”

Another Twitter user, @Manda_like_wine, shared her disappointment with the shelter solution by adding this message attached with a photo of the parking lot shelter:

City Defends Their Temporary Solution

The city of Las Vegas, who began cracking down on the homeless population beginning last November, defended their makeshift shelter, with Mayor Carolyn Goodman assuring that the city’s “entire effort is humanitarian and compassionate.”

“Look, this is an emergency situation. People are always going to criticize. But the city and county are working to ensure people can get the resources they need,” city spokesperson Jace Radke said, adding that the state’s stay-at-home order “is easier said than done for people who are homeless.”

What are your thoughts on the temporary parking-lot homeless shelter? Do you think it’s an adequate solution and space giving the emergency situation? Share your thoughts with us below, we’d love to know.

As always, stay tuned for more news regarding how the fluid COVID-19 situation continues to unfold in Clark County, and stay safe and healthy out there.

Gov. Sisolak Relying on Medical Experts’ Advice for Reopening NV

Nevada Governor SisolakGoing into week three of quarantine, there are 869 positive COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths coming out of Clark County, according to the Southern Nevada Health District’s Monday, March 30 report.

The total number of cases throughout the state is 1,113 as of Tuesday morning.

So far, 11,800 people have been tested, and 10,681 people have come back with negative results, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reports.

With the number of coronavirus cases only showing to increase over the weeks, it begs the question: How long will the statewide closures remain in effect? Gov. Sisolak mandated the closure of casinos statewide and most nonessential businesses, with the expected reopening date of April 16.

Just two days ago, President Trump at his press conference extended the federal government’s guidelines for social distancing until April 30. Those guidelines deeply encourage people to stay at home whenever possible, and not gather in groups of more than 10.

With federal instruction and expert advice, Gov. Sisolak will be waiting to make a move based on what experts deem is best in the growing situation surrounding the virus outbreak:

“No one can estimate right now what our peak is going to be and when the curve is going to start to flatten, much less go down,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak. “A lot of folks will get the virus and they will self-resolve with varying degrees, is what I’m being told of the effect on them of symptoms.”

Preventing an Overwhelmed Local Health Care System

The unknown nature of the COVID-19 virus, in regards to how quickly it would spread and move around the state, let alone country, was the primary motivation behind the closure of casinos, nonessential businesses, and schools.

Gov. Sisolak feared that a rapid spread of the outbreak would overwhelm the local health care system, which wouldn’t have the supplies or manpower available to meet a growing need for care.

When asked if hospitals had enough supplies, Sisolak explained:

“No, they don’t have enough supplies. We don’t have enough beds, and we have too many people who are going to need beds, and it’s gonna increase from here,” says Sisolak. “They don’t have enough PPE’s (personal protective equipment), as we call it, and you’ve seen it – the gowns, the gloves, and the masks. We’ve asked the federal government for these. We put in two large orders. We got 25% of one order; we got zero of the second order.”

Private Sector Donating Helpful Supplies

Even while their industry has been hit, private sector companies, like casinos and businesses (who remain closed during the shutdown) have donated supplies that they’re not using.

Those helpful supplies include boxes of gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers that they’re delivering to local hospitals and other places.

“All the folks that have salons and construction companies and restaurants are donating a case here and 50 here, and 20 here and 100 here,” Sisolak said. “A lot of it we’re getting from the generosity of the community.”

Governor Relying on Sound Medical Advice, not Politician’s Pleas

While the Nevada Governor took swift action in shutting the city down for a minimum of 30 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some politicians, including Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, says that length of time is “too long” and could destroy Nevada’s economy.

“Unfortunately, I’ve known the mayor a long time, and I don’t need politicians weighing in on what the best date would be. I need doctors and medically sound advice,” Governor Sisolak advised.

The Governor says he wants the economy to open up as quickly as possible, that he doesn’t want “people out of work one day longer,” but that he will only allow the state to open back up once he gets the medical “all clear.”

The Unemployed Will Get Help, Slowly but Surely

It’s clear that Nevada’s economy has bore the brunt of the outbreak more so than any other city in the US.

With a city that’s built on tourism and casino industry workers, it’s meant that hundreds of thousands of casino employees are out of work, and the many individuals who work in nonessential businesses across the state.

The number of people who have recently applied for Nevada’s unemployment system was an unprecedented amount, which, to no surprise, recently overwhelmed the system.

In the last week alone, 93,036 applications were received. It absolutely shattered the previous state high of 9,000 claims filed in a week during the first week of January in 2009, during the Great Recession.

But officials have promised that for those who have trouble getting through the system or filing immediately, that they will not lose out on any benefits regardless of when they’re able to get through the system and file.

Governor Says State Is Doing All They Can to Help

Governor Sisolak wants to assure Nevadans that the state is doing everything they can to offset the financial burden that’s been caused by the coronavirus closures.

“We’ve extended the hours, we’ve added people to our unemployment, and I’ll tell you what, our folks are working day and night, day and night to solve these problems. I know they need the money. I know we’re working hard on that and in time we’re gonna get to everybody,” Sisolak says.

As you can see, it’s impossible to tell when casinos will be opening back up in Nevada, despite the expected reopening date of April 16. What’s clear, however, is that Nevada’s Governor will make the decision to do so when it’s the most medically-advised safe time.

Sports Betting in Washington Legalized for Tribal Casinos

Tribal Casino in Washington StateThe road to getting sports betting legalized in Washington state started off slowly, with traction coming off of the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling to strike down the 1992 federal law that outlawed sports gaming in most states.

In recent months, it gained momentum, finally reaching its peak point last Wednesday. While it’s not during the most opportune timing with the current nationwide casino closures due to the coronavirus pandemic alongside the suspension of major league sports, it’s still great news for the Evergreen State.

On Wednesday, Washington officially became the 21st state to legalize sports betting when Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law. Currently, a total of 20 other states now have legal, regulated sports betting industries, with other states passing legislation and contemplating sports-gambling bills.

The legalization in Washington does come with its limits, however.

Unlike its neighboring state, Oregon, Washington will not allow internet or mobile betting options, outside of mobile betting while on the property of tribal casinos. They’ve also decided to limit sports betting on the premises of tribal casinos, only.

“This will give people an opportunity to participate in a new gaming activity that is safe and well-regulated by the tribes,” the Democratic governor advised.

Why Tribal Casinos?

So why limit sports betting to tribal casinos in the state?

Well, the state’s 29 federally-recognized tribes regularly testified in front of legislative committees about all the good they would be able to accomplish with gaming profits.

They also argued that since Washingtonians would prefer to limit the expansion of gambling, they should be crowned the sole partners to provide sports betting to the people.

The Washington state House of Representatives and the Senate approved the motion to limit sports betting to tribal casino premises in wide margins.

“The tribes, as we have seen, do an excellent job of funding problem gambling programs and that’s why I support keeping this within the tribal casino system,” Sen. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, said in a committee executive session ahead of early February’s vote.

Betting Allowed on Wide Range of Sporting Events

A wide range of sporting events will be included in Washington state’s sports wagering authorization, including college sports, professional sports, Olympic and World Cup competitions, overseas leagues, and popular video game tournaments, known as eSports.

This seems like a promising variety, but it will be some time before we see how well sports betting does in the state amid the widespread shutdown of athletic events.

That could be an upside, however, since it’ll take some time for leagues to start up again alongside tribes needing to negotiate regulatory agreements with the state.

Washington Indian Gaming Association Executive Director Thanks Governor for Signing Bill

Rebecca Kaldor, Washington Indian Gaming Association Executive Director, gave Governor Inslee a big thank you for signing the law into existence, despite the unfortunate timing of sports being suspending and casinos being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

”The revenue generated by tribal gaming funds critical needs in our communities,” Kaldor said.

”Tribal communities and governments are currently dealing with the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” she continued. ”As we recover from this crisis, the addition of this amenity will help tribal governments fund the essential services their members will need to get back up on their feet.”

Bill Limit Opponents

Despite objections that Indian Tribes would be granted a monopoly with the decision while hurting smaller commercial-card casinos, the bill still passed successfully.

Among the opponents were Nevada-based Maverick Gaming. Over last year, the company was able to secure 19 of the state’s 44 commercial card-room casinos. Maverick argued that they should be given some control over the lucrative sports gambling market.

According to Maverick Gaming Chief Executive Eric Persson’s stance in the public hearings regarding sports legalization, he believes Washington state could lose up to $50 million a year in tax revenues by not authorizing sports betting to expand past tribal casinos.

Updated List of States with Legal Sports Betting

For those keeping track at home, here is an updated list of the current states allowing legalized sports betting:

Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

Stay tuned to see what develops over the next few weeks in the legalized sports betting world, and to see how the casino shutdown turns out amid the outbreak.

Penn Gaming to Furlough 26k Workers and Sell Tropicana Property

Tropicana Las Vegas Valet EntranceAs the coronavirus casino closures are still in full effect, it’s causing a lot of operators in the gaming industry to make difficult decisions to mitigate for revenue losses, the latest being Penn Gaming,

Penn Nation Gaming, the company who owns and operates the Tropical Hotel and Casino and M Resort in Las Vegas, announced on Friday that they will be selling Tropicana’s real estate assets to receive rent credits in an effort to offset losses from coronavirus closures.

Penn announced that in addition to selling Tropicana’s property, it will also be selling of a new ground lease for a casino planned to be built in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.

According to Penn National President and CEO Jay Snowden. the gaming group reached a lease-back deal with their landlord, real estate spinoff, Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI). In the lease-back deal, Penn National Gaming will receive $337.5 million in rent credits.

The company also announced that they will furlough 26,000 of their employees nationwide this Wednesday.

“As the global COVID-19 health crisis continues to evolve, we are navigating through this unprecedented time for our Company, our industry and our nation,” Snowden said.

“With all of our 41 properties in 19 states temporarily shuttered, like many others in the gaming and hospitality sector, we are making difficult decisions to help preserve our liquidity and ensure a brighter future for our company’s team members, customers, shareholders and other key stakeholders,” he said.

Furlough Plan

Penn National is planning to have unpaid furloughs for nearly 26,000 of their employees beginning April 1. However, their full wages and medical benefits will carry on through June 30.

“This decision was extremely difficult to make for all of us at Penn,” Snowden wrote in a letter addressed to Company team members. “Penn National is a family, and we deeply regret the hardship this will place on you and your loved ones.”

Snowden himself received a pay cut along with other corporate leaders on top of the many company employees.

The company’s Board of Directors decided to postpone their cash compensation until April 1, when the furloughs begin and until Penn National decides that business is back to usual operations.

Penn National plans to utilize their COVID-19 Emergency Fund to offer financial support to its furloughed workers. Currently, they’ve raised $1.2 million in relief funds.

Snowden, his senior management team, the company’s board of directors and property general managers have contributed $425,000 in personal contributions to the fund.

“While the steps we’ve taken are deeply painful on a personal and professional level, I am confident these moves will help to preserve our Company’s and our team members’ long-term future,” Snowden assured.

Company Coverage During Closures

During the coronavirus closures, Penn National advised in a release that it will have less than 850 team members working companywide.

About Penn National Gaming

Penn National Gaming owns, operates or has ownership interests in gaming and racing facilities and video gaming terminal operations with a focus on slot machine entertainment. The Company operates 41 facilities in 19 jurisdictions. In total, Penn National Gaming’s facilities feature approximately 50,500 gaming machines, 1,300 table games and 8,800 hotel rooms. The Company also offers social online gaming through its Penn Interactive Ventures division and has leading customer loyalty programs with over five million active customers.

From their official website.

 

How Long Can Las Vegas Survive Coronavirus Closures? Analysts Look to ‘Cash Burn’ Data

Las Vegas StripA country without casinos. A thought that didn’t seem imaginable over a month ago is now the reality we’re dealing with.

Coronavirus took the country by storm just a few weeks ago. Because of the threat it poses, Nevada Gov. Sisolak mandated a 30-day closure of all casinos statewide to take place. It wasn’t long before casinos nationwide shut their doors, too.

But for the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, that’s full of some of the world’s most iconic casino-hotels, its shutdown is sending ripples through the casino industry as a whole.

Las Vegas has gone from being the city of lights buzzing with tourists the world over, to being a ghost town, all in a matter of weeks because of the pandemic.

But the troubling thing to wrestle with here has been the unknowns. While there is a current timeframe put on casino closures in Las Vegas, there’s truly no telling the direction the outbreak will take.

With cases accelerating, it could push the lockdown even further. With the unknowns in mind, it begs the question: How long can Las Vegas, a city built on the gaming industry and tourism, survive a shutdown?

Let’s take a look at what industry analysts are predicting below.

Assessing “Cash Burn” Data

According to this week’s report released by Macquarie, a gaming technology industry expert, it analyzed “cash burn” data, which is money the closed casinos can afford to burn without running out of it.

How long is that? Well, according to Chad Beynon, a research analyst with Macquarie, it ranges from “five months to a year and a half” due to the varying obligations that the casino operators have “to the banks, to their employees, and to projects.”

According to Beynon, the daily burn will remain relatively the same:

“The only thing that could change by the day is if you’re laying off employees – but you can only cut so much. I don’t think the daily burn changes. Only the amount of time they have left changes.”

The Numbers Research is Showing

Macquarie analysts found this crunching data:

  • Boyd Gaming: 9.4 months, burning $3.2 million a day.
  • Golden Entertainment: 10.4 months, burning $1 million a day.
  • MGM Resorts International: 9 months, burning $14.4 million a day.
  • Monarch Casino and Resort (Reno): 14.3 months, burning $300,000 a day.
  • Penn National: 5.2 months, burning $6.4 million a day.
  • Red Rock Resorts: 13.8 months, burning $1.7 million a day.

Major Economic Losses

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), for every month that the Nevada tourism industry is shut down, it will result in an estimated $4.7 billion in economic losses.

While that’s a devastating blow to Nevada’s economy, the loss on the economic level will be even more massive.

“In total, these mass closures will rob the U.S. economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if American casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks,” AGA President Bill Miller said.

Casinos Seek Congress’ Help

With the dire situation that casinos are in, one that none of them ever saw coming, they’re turning to Congress for emergency aid.

Casinos are seeking Congress’ help in providing emergency funds to bail the industry out of the current financial crisis that they’re in.

According to the Washington Post, casinos are looking for financial aid such as cash payments, deferred taxes, and even special bankruptcy protection.

“Gaming employees, their families and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action,” Miller said.

It’s hard to predict how long this pandemic will keep casinos closed for. The outbreak situation is still fluid and hard to pin down.

Be sure to stay updated on the latest news surrounding casinos and coronavirus closures at BestUSCasinos.org.

How MGM Plans to Cut Costs Amid Coronavirus Closures

MGM Grand Las VegasIt’s no surprise that casino operators are desperately trying to figure out where they cut significant costs when they’re losing out on major revenue each and every single day amid this coronavirus outbreak.

In fact, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that if the casino industry is out of commission for the next seven weeks, which it looks like it will be, it could cost the U.S. economy around $21.3 billion. According to their report, these costs are directly related to consumer spending.

MGM Resorts specifically is said to be burning $14.4 million daily, with nine months of cash burn.

As for the U.S. casino workforce, which is made up of around 750,000 people, the shutdown could result in a near $59 billion loss in total annual wages for workers.

For the impacted casino workers, AGA is working with the White House and Congress in hopes of developing relief packages. AGA is putting forward ideas that could possibly provide the liquidity needed to support affected workers’ financial needs.

But what does a major casino operator, like MGM Resorts, do in the face of heavy financial loss? Who do they turn to? Well, the first strategic move is, with any business really, is to cut costs where you can.

On Friday, MGM Resorts International advised they would be doing just that. Here’s how they plan to cut costs in order to weather the storm that is the coronavirus pandemic.

Hiring Freezes, Furloughs, and Reduced Staff – Oh My

The first area MGM looked into reducing was their variable operating costs, which include hiring freezes, furloughs, and staff reductions.

In their filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, MGM said they believed that around 60-70% of their operating costs fell in the “variable” category and that they would look there to cut a significant portion of their expenses.

MGM initiated their first round of furloughs and layoffs earlier this month, and we’re unsure if there will be another round coming soon.

For those full-time and part-time employees who were laid off, they are receiving two weeks’ pay and extended health benefits, which will go through June 30.

Deferring Capital Projects

In their outline, MGM Resorts said they will also expect to defer at least 33% of their planned capital projects for the year.

“With the continued execution of the MGM 2020 plan, as well as the implementation of aggressive cost savings initiatives, we believe the Company will be able to manage its expenses while navigating this unprecedented event. We are currently making very difficult decisions but believe these will be in the best interest of the Company long term,” their filing reads.

Donated $1M to Employee Fund

Despite the financial impact COVID-19 has had on their operations, just a few days ago, MGM Resorts International donated a cool $1 million toward its employee fund.

The MGM Resorts Emergency Relief Fund offers short-term financial relief to employees and their immediate families when it comes to helping in making payments, like rent or utility bills, or meeting other financial obligations during unexpected hardships and emergencies.

The fund offers relief to all levels of employees, including full-time and on-call employees, and employees who are facing layoff, furlough, or separation.

“As we confront extraordinary events and an unprecedented global pandemic crisis, we know that this is an extremely challenging and uncertain time for many of our employees, their families, friends and neighbors and we are committed to help those in need,” Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO and president of MGM Resorts International said in a statement on Monday.

In the same statement, the company also announced that they donated the “equivalent of 400,000 meals through local food banks to alleviate food insecurity in the United States.”

Casino operators across the U.S. are being forced to make difficult decisions to keep their operations afloat and in preparation for making a rebound once the dust from the coronavirus closures settles.

When will that rebound happen? We’re not sure. But while you’re waiting this out, there are plenty of online casinos you can find on our home page that will help fill the gambling void.

LV Construction Presses on During Coronavirus Closures

Las Vegas Construction SiteWhile Las Vegas is currently experiencing a shutdown like never seen before with the mandated 30-day closure of casinos and nonessential businesses, it’s still business as usual for the valley’s construction workers.

In fact, the shutdown has allowed for an opportune time for various projects to be worked on in light of fewer vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

But it’s not just in Las Vegas either. Leaders throughout the U.S. gave the construction sector the green light to stay in operation during the pandemic, so long as extra precautions are put into place to keep job sites safe.

Gov. Sisolak classified construction and homebuilding as “essential” businesses last week in his public health crisis announcement, in addition to grocery stores, gas stations, police and fire departments, and hospitals to name a few.

Las Vegas’ 2020 Construction Boom

This new year, into next year, will see the completion of a surge of massive, city-changing projects for Las Vegas.

The most notable one being the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, which will serve as the home football stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Outside of the Vegas’ first football stadium, new hotels are nearing completion, like Downtown Las Vegas’ Circa Resort and Resorts World Las Vegas. The new entertainment stadium, MGM Sphere, is set to be completed next year.

Besides stadiums and hotels, new apartments, shopping centers, and warehouses are popping up all across town.

The coronavirus closures will allow more daylight hours for certain construction projects, especially roadwork projects on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Safety Guidelines Implemented

Construction sites have implemented new policies and procedures to maintain a higher level of safety during the outbreak.

Those include ensuring 6 feet of space between workers, as per the State’s official guidelines, limiting meetings or gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, and checking on workers’ health conditions daily.

Daily health surveys include daily temperature checks on workers for sites like Resorts World Las Vegas. The site has also added more hand-washing stations and bumped up disinfecting measures on their portable restrooms.

Resorts World Management advised they rolled out these policies to “minimize the risk of coronavirus.” Their new safety policies come on the heels on one of their site worker’s testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

On the Allegiant Stadium site, every worker was asked to undergo a verbal health screening, the number of workers in specific areas have been limited, and sanitization has increased significantly, especially in high-traffic areas where cleanings happen a few times daily.

Outside Work Considered ‘Advantageous’

While construction workers are being expected to adhere to the newly imposed policies, their work conditions are considered “advantageous” by health professionals.

Noah Seixas, director of the University of Washington’s Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, said working outdoors is “advantageous” since airborne materials are able to dissipate more easily.

While that’s the case, not all construction work is performed outdoors, which has caused some worries to arise.

Workers’ Worries

While construction workers seem to have an advantage when it comes to being outdoor, the sting of the outbreak is being felt everywhere…even in their industry.

“People are nervous. … You can kind of feel it in the air,” said a Resorts World worker.

And they’re not immune to contracting the virus, either.

Just this week, another worker at the Allegiant Stadium construction site tested positive for COVID-19. This happened a day before the positive testing came out for the worker at Resorts World.

In regards to the stadium case, Gov. Sisolak was asked whether or not he thought it was best to suspend construction statewide, to which he said that the more cases come to light, the more he will “continue to consult with the medical advisory team and evaluate any new decisions that need to be made.”

With two cases reported in the Las Vegas construction industry as of now, it’s hard to tell whether cases will increase and if that industry as a whole will be impacted similarly to the way the casino industry has been hit in this town.

We can only continue to monitor the news for updates to see if any new patterns emerge. Stay tuned and stay safe out there.

Resorts World Las Vegas Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19

Resorts World Las Vegas Resorts World Las Vegas, the entertainment capital’s massive new luxury casino-resort property set to debut next year, has confirmed that one of their site workers has tested positive for coronavirus.

“On March 23, Resorts World Las Vegas was notified that one of its subcontractor’s workers tested positive for COVID-19,” Resorts World advised in a statement released Tuesday morning.

Site records found that the subcontractor last appeared on the Resorts World construction site last Tuesday, March 17.

Once the news came out that the worker tested positively for COVID-19, his crew on the project was notified immediately and told to stay home to self-isolate for two weeks to minimize further spread on the site.

The worker’s assigned area on the site and surrounding vicinity have also been shut down in order to be disinfected and properly sanitized, according to Resorts World officials. Those sanctioned areas will stay closed until April 1.

In addition to the public announcement, Resorts World Las Vegas and W.A. Richardson Builders have put together a preventative policies and procedures list which they’re enforcing to help curb the further spread to COVID-19.

It’s detailed below:

  • Implementation of social distancing, including in manlifts and elevators, and good hygiene practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD);
  • Reinforcement of wellness, sanitation and social distancing guides at scaled-down daily toolbox meetings;
  • Required daily temperature checks/monitoring for all workers;
  • Installation of additional handwashing stations throughout the job site;
  • Increased sanitation of portable restrooms;
  • Implementation of teleconferencing in lieu of all nonessential meetings;
  • Reduction in crew size to assist in social distancing compliance;
  • Reinforcement of companies’ policies to encourage any employee who feels sick to stay home.

Current COVID-19 Cases in Clark County

As of Tuesday morning, there are 278 positive COVID-19 cases in Clark County and four reported deaths. The age group with the most reported cases (108 cases) ranges from 25-49-year-olds, with the majority of cases reported being males.

About Resorts World Las Vegas

Construction for Resorts World Las Vegas, one of the largest hotel construction sites currently in the U.S., is steadily moving forward with approximately 1,500 construction workers on-site each day at the 88-acre parcel of land. The destination will combine traditional and modern architecture, weaving a new luxury hotel experience into the fabric of Las Vegas with Asian-inspired touches, progressive technology and world-class guest service.

Resorts World Las Vegas will seamlessly blend the technology and luxury appeal of an urban contemporary resort with the traditions and time-honored details of the Resorts World brand. From a lush outdoor pool oasis with bold accents and rustic textures, to an interior color palette of warm gold and cream hues, each space will have its own identity and will be equally as inviting and immersive as it is unique.

 Taken from Resorts World Las Vegas official website.

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Lays off Part-time Workers

Cosmopolitan of Las VegasThe Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which is shutdown as part of Gov. Sisolak’s statewide closure of all casinos and nonessential businesses that went into effect last Wednesday, is laying off their part-time and on-call employees.

The furlough went into effect on Tuesday.

Part of the company’s on-call employees who were impacted by the decision includes 40 on-call cocktail servers.

The furlough comes as the company readjusted their plans to compensate employees during the 30-day closure. A letter was sent to employees on Monday that included the update on pay policies and benefits during the coronavirus closure.

The company confirmed the decision on Tuesday, stating it was a difficult one to make during this difficult period that’s impacting the lives of industry workers across Las Vegas everywhere.

Cosmopolitan says they hope “to recall furloughed employees” as soon as possible.

“The impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly,” reads the company statement. “We look forward to welcoming back our guests and hope to recall furloughed employees as soon as we can.”

Full Pay for Full-time and Eligible Employees

Initially, the Cosmopolitan agreed to offer full pay and benefits to eligible employees through March 31, which would cover half of the mandated 30-day closure period.

However, the updated letter extends the previous policy by two weeks, offering full pay up until April 16, which would cover the entire projected shutdown period.

The company advised that health benefits will be available for eligible employees through June 30.

“We know the past few weeks have presented serious concerns and extraordinary challenges in our personal and professional lives, and we thank you for your ongoing dedication to the resort,” the letter reads.

Non-Eligible Employees

The company describes non-eligible employees as employees who have worked less than an average of 30 hours a week over the last six months, on-call employees, and full-time employees who were hired on after March 1.

Other Casinos Operators Pay Policies to their Employees

Sahara Las Vegas – The company has laid off a number of its employees, with company officials stating that they will “absorb costs to maintain health benefits for all individuals affected by these changes during this difficult time.”

Boyd Gaming Corporation – According to employees, the company communicated they will pay one week of pay to hourly employees and two weeks of pay to managers.

MGM Resorts International – Company will offer part-time and full-time furloughed employees with two weeks of pay and health benefits, with eligible employees staying enrolled in the company’s health plans through June 30.

Station Casinos – Company is offering regular pay and health benefits through April 30 to all hourly and salaried full-time employees. The company has moved hundreds of employees with part-time status over to full-time status so that they’re able to receive the full benefits.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation – Company will pay full-time, part-time and regularly scheduled staff for up to two weeks of the casino closures with uninterrupted health benefits.

Las Vegas Sands Corporation – All levels of employees will be paid during the entire 30-day closure.

 Penn National Gaming – Company officials advised that close to 3,200 staff members will receive pay and benefits through March 31.

Golden Entertainment – A company letter advised that all full-time hourly and salaried team members will receive pay for one week from the last day they worked, and were given the option to use vacation days and paid time off until the balances are fully used up.

Team members who are on the company’s health insurance plan will keep their benefits through the layoff period.

South Point – Company will offer full-time employees pay for 32 hours per week, along with full health benefits, until the property opens back up.

Golden Nugget – Employees have reported company furloughs. A company statement advised that all active full-time and part-time team members who worked up until the closure will be offered two weeks’ pay.

The company will also maintain benefits for team members who were enrolled in its health plan and “accepted and remain on furlough now through the end of the furlough period,” or through June 30.

Wynn Resorts – Company is granting all employees with 30-day payroll coverage.

Laid-Off Workers Flock to Unemployment Office

The huge number of currently unemployed casino workers are a mass majority of those who have been flocking to the unemployment office on West Charleston Boulevard.

The lines have been filled with workers from various points of the casino-entertainment industry, from convention workers to nightclub workers, to general food & beverage workers.

“It’s terrible. … There are thousands of people without jobs now,” said one Mandalay Bay employee in line, who chose to remain anonymous to protect her future job security.

Hector Padilla, a maintenance worker for Sahara Las Vegas, says the layoffs are a disservice to employees, considering the major profits casino operators have made in recent years:

“The average Joe is going to have to worry about making that last mortgage payment or buying food for our kids,” Padilla said. “Some people may have reserves, but other people, most people, do not.”

Another anonymous Planet Hollywood worker in the unemployment line said their biggest concern is how they’re going to get their bills paid, especially rent.

“I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills now,” the Planet Hollywood employee expressed. “The mortgage companies, the landlords, they don’t care. They want their money. … If I don’t get paid, I’m going to get kicked out.”

Gov. Sisolak Explores Options to Protect “Most Vulnerable” Citizens

During last Thursday’s news conference, Gov. Sisolak attempted to reassure impacted Clark County citizens by letting the public know that his office was exploring every option to help protect those being impacted by these closures most.

One of those options includes eviction moratoriums.

“I have been in constant contact with my colleagues across the country, governors that all had various plans going,” Sisolak said. “That is another one of the issues that we’re looking at moving forward.”

Stay tuned to see how the statewide closure of all casinos and nonessential businesses plays out during the COVID-19 outbreak.

LVPD Crackdown on Open Businesses Amid Shutdown, 7 Licenses Suspended

Gold & Silver Pawn Shop SignLas Vegas police are staying busy during the Clark County coronavirus shutdown. The shutdown, which called for the closure of all nonessential businesses last Wednesday, was announced by Gov. Sisolak in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Authorities, along with their compliance team, visited at least 113 businesses across the valley over the weekend.

For the non-essential businesses, which include (but are not limited to) entertainment and hospitality, recreation and health facilities, beauty and personal care facilities, retail facilities and shopping malls, that didn’t voluntarily choose to close their doors, they’ve been met with legal enforcement.

A statement from the Las Vegas Metro Police reads:

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Investigation Section teamed up with Clark County Business License agents this weekend and served 36 warning letters, 7 suspensions and 4 citations to non-essential area businesses that were not complying with state orders to shut down.

Nevada Coin Mart Forced to Close Down

Of the open businesses that were met with legal enforcement during the crackdown is Nevada Coin Mart, which is located on Jones and Flamingo.

Nevada Coin Mart buys silver and gold jewelry from the public, which has been a valuable resource for those looking to secure extra cash during this period of financial insecurity and economic downturn.

“They suspended my business license until April 16 as well as they told me I needed to close the doors immediately to the general public,” said Neil Sackmary, Coin Mart’s owner.

“Most people don’t know the difference between a pawn shop and a “secondhand dealer” so they naturally assume that a pawnshop is what we have,” Sackmary added.

“So there is a pawn license and there is a secondhand license and so all that needs to be done and we’re not gonna open until that point, the governor would just say pawn shops and secondhand dealers,” Sackmary further explained.

According to Gov. Sisolak’s order, Pawnshops are explicitly exempt. While pawnbrokers are exempt, Sackmary holds a secondhand dealer license, which isn’t exempt per the order.

Financial Institution by US Federal Regulation Definition

Sackmary’s attorney explained that his business is a financial institution by US Federal regulation definition. Under the governor’s closure order, financial institutions are also exempt.

“The United States Patriot Act, section 312, the Federal Government recognizes my business as a financial institution. The legislation applies to financial institutions defined more broadly and to include businesses that are dealers in precious metals and gems,” Sackmary explained.

Pawn Shops Remain Open

Max Pawn, which is operated by Michael Mack, a longtime friend of Sackmary, is allowed to stay open.

Mack was “shocked” that his pawn business was unaffected and forced to close, while Sackmary’s business license was suspended.

When Sackmary asked for Mack’s opinion on the legal enforcement and the nature of his business, Mack had this to say:

“You are an essential business people come to you every day they need cash.”

According to Sackmary, Nevada Coin Mart is “the best in Las Vegas when it comes to the buying. We buy gold, silver, costume jewelry, coins, paper currency, Rolex watches and diamonds.”

“When times get really tough, that’s what a lot of people have because they are digging into everything they have to sell,” Sackmary added.

Authorities advised that since Sackmary only holds a secondhand dealer license and not a banking license out of Clark County, he was forced to close.

Enforced Closures of Nonessential Businesses

According to a statement given by city spokesperson Jace Radke, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers will enforce closures of valley businesses that are classified as “nonessential,” as discussed in an agreement with the Clary County Commission during a meeting last Friday.

Radke said that outside of these enforced legal closures, the city of Las Vegas will be taking these additional steps to help “ease the burdens on businesses that have been forced to close”:

  • A 60-day grace period for business license renewals with due dates of March 1 or April 1
  • Options to close general or privileged licenses and no cost to reinstate them
  • A liquor license option to pay a reduced fee during the temporary closure
  • A gaming license option to pay a reduced fee during the temporary closure
  • An ongoing acceptance of applications during this time

About Nevada Coin Mart

We are proud to be licensed by Clark County to legally buy jewelry from the general public. Since 1971, Nevada Coin Mart – Jones and Flamingo™, we have transitioned into the modern technology age combined with the highest possible cash offerings and the best customer service. 

Nevada Coin Mart offers the highest level of professional, friendly, and courteous service to make each transaction a pleasurable and lucrative experience for our clients.

We are certified by the GIA and carry an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau.

Taken from Nevada Coin Mart’s official website.

Reno to Shelter Homeless Inside Downtown Events Center During COVID-19 Outbreak

Reno's Downtown Events Center In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the city of Reno is opening the doors to its Downtown Events Center as a makeshift shelter for the community’s homeless.

The space will provide enough room to shelter residents under the CDC’s current social distancing guidelines that recommend 6-feet of distance between people at all times as a means of fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

While the center will serve as a temporary shelter, it is mostly being used to relocate all of the homeless residents from Record Street and house Washington Street’s overflow shelter. Adding more capacity won’t be the main focus.

Volunteers of America (VOA), who operate the region’s homeless shelter, will have access to an additional 50 beds through the use of the Downtown Events Center. That’s significantly more than their current shelter’s capacities.

Downtown Events Center Allows for Social Distancing

Shelter director, Pat Cashell, said their first priority was getting social distancing right, right away. The large, open concert venue allows the square footage for that to happen, with 118,000-square-feet to spare.

“If you were at Record Street last night you’d see people were sleeping shoulder to shoulder,” Cashell said. “There is absolutely no social distancing going on and it’s not safe for anybody.”

Councilman Devon Reese said that while it might not be a permanent solution, it’s the best the city is able to do right now with the “timing and facilities” they have.

Center is Currently Vacant Due to Governor Orders

The concert venue became an available space to use as the temporary shelter due to the fact that it’s vacant and was ordered to close after Gov. Sisolak’s statewide closure of all non-essential businesses for 30 days.

Councilwoman Neoma Jardon said that the events center has enough space for 400 people to sleep.

The space will also be able to accommodate and quarantine homeless individuals that potentially contract the virus.

No Coronavirus Cases for Shelter Residents, Yet

Currently, no shelter residents have tested positive for COVID-19. However, limited testing may be a reason for no reports of positive testing yet.

In Washoe County, there have been 25 positive cases of coronavirus. That’s a smaller number compared with the now 200+ positive cases of the virus coming out of Clark County.

Volunteers of America have been doing their due diligence to check on shelter residents’ health by monitoring their temperature with thermometers that have been provided by Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

The shelters’ have also begun limiting the number of available showers and restrooms, to allow more time to disinfect the facility in between uses.

While the events center doesn’t have showers available at this time, they will put hand-washing stations into place.

A Much-Needed Refuge

With major public buildings closed, like casinos, schools, and libraries, it’s been difficult for the homeless to find public restrooms they can use. The events center will be a much-needed refuge for the community during this time.

Holly Welborn, policy director for the Nevada ACLU, praises the city’s decision to utilize the events center and says they’re eager to learn the proper protocols to put in place to keep the homeless as safe and secure as possible.

“Our most vulnerable residents deserve an equal opportunity to protect themselves against COVID-19,” she said. “We look forward to learning more about protocols to meet CDC requirements and to provide food and access to healthcare.”

Las Vegas Epidemiologist Estimates Longevity of Coronavirus

Cleaning School During COVID-19 OutbreakIn the span of one week, the impact of coronavirus in Clark County went from less than 10 cases to over 150 as of last Friday, with two reported deaths.

The city also went from big-name casino operator MGM Resorts closing their buffets temporarily, to announcing the closure of their casinos, to Gov. Sisolak calling for the mandated 30-day closure of all casino-hotels statewide and suggested shutdown of nonessential businesses.

It’s been a national whirlwind these last couple of weeks with the coronavirus making its mark in the states. But Las Vegas is getting hit particularly hard with the closure of the very things it was built on.

While it’s hard to determine the trajectory of the outbreak, Dr. Brian Labus of the UNLV School of Public Health, and former senior epidemiologist Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), offers his expert insight into the matter.

“If at the end of the 30 days the situation has gotten much, much worse, then obviously we’ll have to extend it,” Labus said. “If we get closer to 30 days and everything is better, we’ll look at how to modify it. It’s a place to start, but obviously, because we don’t know how this will play out, it’s hard to say exactly how many days it will be and whether or not it will be enough.”

Outbreak Affects Regions Differently

Dr. Labus has 15 years of experience as SNHD’s leading epidemiologist, and he believes that the COVID-19 outbreak is similar to managing a fire. If we’re unable to put the virus completely out, it could flare back up in the same way that a fire does.

“If Vegas manages to get everything under control, but one of the states around us doesn’t, it could easily restart an outbreak here,” Labus advised. “We have to look nationally and worldwide to decide how best to keep this from flaring back up.”

However the spread of the viruses is unpredictable, to say the least, and they’ve historically been shown to affects regions differently, not just globally but nationally. New York City currently has half of the country’s total reported coronavirus cases at around 17,000 cases, while West Virginia has less than 20 reported cases.

According to Dr. Michael Gardner, vice dean of clinical affairs at UNLV School of Medicine, there isn’t a pandemic from the past that’s spread similarly as COVID-19 has that we’re able to draw a likeness too.

Spanish Flu of 1918 Comparisons

The only virus closest in comparison was the Spanish flu from over nearly 100 years ago that’s said to be the deadliest virus in human history. In fact, it infected almost 27% of the world’s entire population, claiming the lives of between 50 and 100 million people.

It’s an eerily familiar story for Spain, who’s among the hardest-hit countries right now, with 1,720 deaths and counting.

But the world is connected much differently now than it was in 1918 when the Spanish flu was rampant.

“They couldn’t do the testing that we could do now,” Labus said. “The world was also connected differently so you could actually watch the virus in 1918 move across the country from city to city over the course of a couple of weeks. Here, with a well-connected population around the world, it spreads very differently.”

Labus added that an important lesson from the Spanish flu is being adamant about protecting health care workers who are our front line of defense. When the Spanish flu hit, health care workers had a high mortality rate.

Unsure How Recovery from COVID-19 Works

Labus admits that when studying viruses, you’ll be confronted with plenty of unknowns. Part of that unknown territory is how immunity works for those who have recovered from the coronavirus.

“Usually at the very least, you get several months of protection after an illness because if your immune system didn’t work at all, you would never recover,” Labus said. “The problem is right now we don’t know if recovery will provide long-term immunity or not.”

An Uncertain Future

While Labus has been in the field for over 15 years, his honest answer when it comes to COVID-19-related questions is “I don’t know.”

Other experts around the world believe the virus will be around for the next 12 months, even possibly the next two years. They believe it will be circulating until a vaccine is developed, and that could take at least 18 months.

With such predictions, the best advice experts can give is to continue practicing social distancing.

Labus advises the people of Clark County to listen to the governor and do their due diligence to “Stay home for Nevada.”

“We’ve canceled all these events, we’ve told people to work from home, but if you look at the streets, there are still lots of people going about their day-to-day lives,” Labus said. “It’s important to look at these things as not just a risk to yourselves, but a risk to the community.”

Sports Betting Gets Creative with Wagers: Weather, Politics, And Celebrity Bets

MyBookie Bets ScreenshotWhat does a sports bettor do if there are no actual sports to bet on?

While the thought of sports being “canceled” in the US seemed nearly impossible two weeks ago, that’s all changed with the rapid spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Just 9 days ago, Darren Rovell with the Action Network even predicted that all 50 states would officially make sports betting legal. His prediction came on the heels of several states, including Illinois and Michigan, legally green lighting sports betting.

The first major professional sports league to suspend play was the NBA after a player contracted the virus. Soon after, the NHL and MLB followed suit, with the most recent NCAA even canceling their March Madness tournament, a highly-anticipated event for bettors everywhere this time of year.

With the global pandemic heavy in play, it wasn’t too long until Las Vegas, the gambling mecca of the world, shut down their casinos for 30 days following a mandate given by Nevada Gov. Sisolak. And other casinos across the country have temporarily shut their doors, too.

So what does that leave a sports bettor to do? No sports. No casinos. But top bookies are saying “no problem” and choosing to get creative with their line offerings instead.

This creative spectrum of wagers is ranging from weather predictions, politics, Tom Brady’s future, celebrity dead pools and more. Let’s take a look at the unique lines being offered by some of our top bookies at BestUSCasinos.org.

Bovada

Trending betting opportunities at the popular online sportsbook Bovada this week asked what the weather would look like in several different states: “What will be the maximum temperature in Dallas, Texas on March 19?”

The winner said “Under 79 Degrees Fahrenheit, ” choosing to go under -155 as opposed to +155.

Bovada Bets Screenshot

Photo: Bovada Screenshot

“The severity of what’s going on in the world right now, it’s bombarding us,” said Pat Morrow, head oddsmaker at Bovada. “You can’t really flip away from cable news. You can’t have your usual distractions. So we figured: What else are people talking about? What else are people engaging with? Hopefully this could be our own way to provide distraction.”

Bovada also offers political wagers, which seem to be quite popular among bettors. Right now, political wagers are weighing the winnings odds between Republican and Democratic candidates, and the 2020 US Presidential Election Winner.

US Presidential Election 2020 – Democratic Candidate

Democratic Candidate

  • Joe Biden -2000
  • Hillary Clinton +1400
  • Bernie Sanders +2500
  • Michelle Obama +5000
  • Tulsi Gabbard +20000

US Presidential Election 2020 – Republican Candidate

Republican Candidate

  • Donald Trump -2000
  • Mike Pence +1600
  • Nikki Haley +3000
  • Mitt Romney +8000
  • Paul Ryan +10000
  • Ben Sasse +15000
  • John Kasich +15000
  • William (Bill) Weld +15000
  • All wagers have action. More upon request.

US Presidential Election 2020 – Odds To Win

2020 US Presidential Election Winner

  • Donald Trump -105
  • Joe Biden -105
  • Bernie Sanders +4000
  • Mike Pence +5000
  • Hillary Clinton +8000
  • Nikki Haley +10000
  • Michelle Obama +20000
  • Tulsi Gabbard +50000

Data taken from Bovada

BetOnline

Tom Brady has been a hot topic of discussion during the 2020 offseason, especially amid the sport suspensions.

On BetOnline, popular lines featuring Tom Brady are focusing on his total interceptions, passing yards, and TD passes during the 2020 regular season.

BetOnline Bets Screenshot

Photo: BetOnline Screenshot

MyBookie

Keeping in line with its motto, “Bet on Anything. Anywhere. At any time.” the online sportsbook has been offering a wide variety of unique bets, including U.S. politics, Trump, and celebrity dead pools.

One wager is having bettors place odds on “who will play the next James Bond.”

MyBookie Bets Screenshot

Photo: MyBookie Screenshot

Some Sportsbooks Are Staying in Their Lanes

While it isn’t illegal to bet on politics or other creative forms of non-sports event wagers in the US, some sportsbooks are decidedly sticking strictly to sports.

“Any offerings in Nevada are still sports based and horse racing,” said Vinny Magliulo of the Vegas-based sports betting network VSiN. “With Nevada casinos closed, the only way to bet on a limited menu (Australian Rules Football & Rugby, Turkish Super LIG Soccer, MLB Pennants & World Series & Super Bowl Futures, some later in the year boxing) is on the mobile apps within Nevada.”

Bets are Still Happening in the Midst of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Futures betting for offseason leagues are still on, like the MLB and NFL. Esports is also expected to rise up during this period of shutdown, should they remain to hold non-spectator events. Virtual horse-racing is also available on some platforms.

Other online sportsbooks are even betting on which league will come back from the crisis first.

For professional sports bettors wanting to keep their bets focused on sports, they’re turning to International markets like Mexican soccer, Turkish soccer, and Serbian soccer to get their bet fixings in.

Other professional bettors are shifting focus to smaller Esports league. NFL futures, and some UFC games.

While these creative betting handles aren’t replacing the NBA or March Madness, they’re still beneficial to bettors and give them something to fill the temporary void of not being able to place American sports bets.

Which one of these bets would you be willing to wager on? The weather? Tom Brady’s future? Or who the next James Bond will be?

There’s still a lot to stay busy with during this season of sports shutdown.

Happy wagering!

SNHD Confirms 126 Cases of COVID-19 in Southern NV

COVID-19 GraphicAs of Friday evening, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) has reported a total number of 126 coronavirus cases in Clark County.

Prior to the evening findings, the departed reported 74 cases during their press conference this Friday afternoon.

In addition to the updated total of cases, SNHD also announced the second COVID-19 death of a Clark County resident, a woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions.

“As of March 19, the Southern Nevada Health District reports 74 confirmed cases in Clark County and unfortunately, we’re reporting a second death in Clark County — a woman in her 60s with underlying medical conditions,” said Dr. Mike Johnson, the organization’s director of community health.

The first reported death of COVID-19 was a Clark County man in his 60s with underlying health conditions.

Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, released this statement after the first confirmed death from the virus in the state:

“This loss of life is a tragedy, and we want to express our condolences to the family…We must continue to emphasize how important it is to protect those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of the virus and urge our community to support the public health measures and recommendations that are in place.”

SNHD Health Safety Guidelines to the Public

“If you have a mild cough, fever, or other respiratory symptoms, contact your doctor first,” SNHD said. “Practice everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”

Other tips include:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Stay informed.
  • Stay home if sick whenever possible.

Drive-thru COVID-19 Testing Halted

Sahara West Urgent Care stopped their drive-thru COVID-19 testing services three days after opening it to the public due to lack of manpower, according to staff members.

While there a lot of test kids, there simply isn’t enough staff available to help administer staff.

“I’m running thin. I’m running really thin. I only have four staff members right now,” said Jose Triana, Practice Manager at Sahara West Urgent Care.

Patients who have been to the facility comment on how “exhausted” and “run down” staff members at Urgent Care looked these past few days.

According to Triana, aside from limited staff members, those who are helping out are working overtime at no cost to help ease residents’ concerns through their testing services.

“It’s payroll for me,” Triana said. “I just can’t afford them to be here every single day, overtime and everything like that when we’re doing this out of the greatness of our hearts.”

Eager people wishing to get tested anxiously waited in line for over four hours, with some of them camping overnight. Unfortunately, they had to be turned away this morning due to the lack of manpower at Sahara West Urgent Care.

The facility has tested approximately 800 people so far. Currently, they have 300 test kits left and plan to replenish the supply once it runs out.

New Requirements to get Tested

Triana said that in order for patients to get tested at their facility, they will need a referral from their primary doctor first. Once they have that, they’ll be able to make an appointment to get tested for COVID-19.

“Call in. We’ll ask you to send or give us your information via email or over the phone and we’ll go ahead and we’ll schedule you the next available appointment for the COVID testing,” Triana said.

Casino Shutdowns Allow More Roadwork Hours on the Strip

Las Vegas BoulevardWith the 30-day mandated closure of hotel-casino properties in Nevada, it’s opened the Strip up for the perfect opportunity for more roadwork to be done in the absence of vehicle traffic and the endless tourists walking up and down Las Vegas Boulevard.

Clark County officials are using this time to expand roadwork hours to include day and night work along the resort corridor and on two big projects going right now.

“This change will give our contractors more flexibility in their own scheduling, and hopefully allow them to complete these projects on time or sooner,” Denis Cederburg, County Public Works Director, said in a statement. “Working daytime hours should result in higher production rates during a shift.”

County officials say the expanded roadwork hours may have Las Vegas Boulevard down to one lane in each direction between Spring Mountain Rd. and Sahara to accommodate the construction.

In the past, major lane restrictions would typically only take place during overnight hours as it’s not easy to redirect or impose on the rhythms of daytime traffic.

Koval Lane from Tropicana Avenue to Sands Avenue could also see a one-lane redirection to accommodate road projects.

Las Vegas Boulevard Projects

Current projects on Las Vegas Boulevard include the installation of new pavement, replacement of a water main line, improved pedestrian crossing including intersection updates, technology upgrades to traffic signal systems, smart pole lighting, LED lighting in various pockets, and median landscape upgrades.

These enhancements are slated to be completed by Summer 2021, with the casino closures allowing the opportunity for more progress to be made, especially with the aid of daylight hours.

Project improvements to the Koval area of Las Vegas Boulevard include repaving and adding a third turn lane of traffic that will go from Koval northbound to westbound Sands. These updates are scheduled to be completed by June.

The Strip is Quiet in the Wake of Casino Closures

On Friday, the Las Vegas Strip looks much different from what you would normally see on a typical Friday. Instead of hoards of tourists on a bustling Las Vegas Boulevard, there’s only a handful of pedestrians and modest traffic in sight.

Those on the Las Vegas Strip who experienced it “going dark” on Wednesday night, took to social media outlets like Twitter to document the uncommon scene.

One twitter user, @emziety, documented the peculiar sight by posting a video of mild traffic and a Strip absent of tourists:

“Yesterday was the day the Las Vegas Strip went quiet. Never in my life did I think I’d see it so deserted. Eerie.”

Some marquee signs on the Strip, like the one on the STRAT, read: “Stay Home. Stay Healthy. Stay in Touch.” With other signs on the Aria reading “We look forward to welcoming you back soon.”

Here are more images of the eerily quiet strip documented by other Twitter users. One of the most “stark images” seen is the famed Bellagio lights going out. It’s been a sight unlike any other for a city that’s normally filled with crowds.

Non-gaming Hotels Open in Las Vegas During Casino Closures

Hampton Inn HotelWhile major casino-hotel properties in Las Vegas were forced to closed their doors for a minimum of 30 days in an effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak, there are still some non-gaming lodging options open for business in the valley.

If you’re looking for a good place to rest your head, take a look at the list of hotels that are still open currently, including their meal offerings. Note: None of the following hotels charge a resort fee or internet fee as well.

 

Courtyard Marriott Las Vegas South

5845 Dean Martin Drive

702-895-7519

Grab-and-go breakfast available

 

Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott Las Vegas South

5775 Dean Martin Drive

702-895-9810

Grab-and-go breakfast available

 

Hampton Inn by Hilton Las Vegas North Speedway

2852 E Craig Road

702-655-0111

Complimentary breakfast available

 

Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas Strip South

7830 Las Vegas Strip South

702-453-7830

Breakfast to go available

Dinner to go available

 

Holiday Inn Express Las Vegas South

5760 S Polaris

702-736-0098

Grab-and-go breakfast available

 

Home2 Suites by Hilton Las Vegas Strip South

7740 Las Vegas Strip South

702-710-7740

Complimentary breakfast available

 

Residence Inn Marriott Las Vegas South

5875 Dean Martin Drive

702-795-7378

Grab-and-go breakfast available

Kitchens in rooms

 

Springhill Suites Las Vegas North Speedway

2910 E Craig Road

702-522-9200

Complimentary breakfast available

 

Towneplace Suites Marriott Henderson

1471 E Paseo Verde Pkwy

702-896-2900

Grab-and-go breakfast

Full kitchens in rooms

Coronavirus Shutdown Shakes Casino Industry

In what’s a first for the Entertainment Capital of the World, the Strip has gone quiet amid the closure of major casino operations on the Las Vegas Strip and beyond.

“I’ve never seen how a casino shuts down in my 35 years working on the strip,” said a Treasure Island employee. “Only when they open up.”

Another local dealer, a 25-year industry veteran, said that the last and only time the casinos in Las Vegas closed was after the JFK assassination, and the dealer added that it “was for one day.”

Tuesday evening, Gov. Sisolak ordered for a statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses, which included casinos and gaming properties.

The announcement gave the state’s casinos around six hours to halt their gambling operations, which includes over 5,400 table games and 160,000 slot machines.

Current Businesses Open in Las Vegas

With the COVID-19 outbreak growing stronger every day, people are being encouraged by the government level to remain indoors and participate in social distancing.

If you must be out in public, it’s recommended that 6 feet of distance be maintained between you and another person.

Right now, the businesses that remain open to the public are all businesses deemed as essential businesses.

Those businesses include healthcare services, grocery stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, convenience & discount stores, gas stations, laundromats, dry cleaners, and essential stays in hotels to name a few.

If you happen to be visiting Las Vegas during the coronavirus closures and are looking for something to do that doesn’t go against social distancing guidelines, there are some nature options to explore, including Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead.

Las Vegas Businesses Still Open Amid Coronavirus Closures

Chevron Gas Station in Las VegasThe coronavirus shutdown put into effect by Gov. Sisolak earlier this week called for the 30-day closure of all nonessential businesses, casinos, schools, and restaurants in Nevada. The initiative is being called the Nevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative.

“The goal of this initiative is to protect the health and safety of Nevadans by preventing people coming together unnecessarily, where people who have the infection can easily spread it to others,” the release read. “Ask yourself this question: ‘Where do people get within 6 feet of other individuals for an extended period of time?’ — then avoid those areas.”

On Tuesday night, the Governor said “only essential services should remain open. Such as police, fire transit, and health services in addition to businesses that provide food, shelter, or social services to disadvantaged populations.”

The state’s Health Response Center compiled an updated list on Wednesday of all essential and non-essential services and sectors as detailed in the initiative. The list recommends which businesses should keep their doors open, and businesses that should shut down.

If you’re wondering what businesses will remain open in Las Vegas during the COVID-19 shutdown, continue reading below for the official list provided by Clark County Nevada. It’s also helpful to understand what businesses will be officially closed to dispel any confusion.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND SECTORS

  • Fire services, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services & public safety agencies
  • Healthcare services
  • Businesses or organizations that provide food, shelter, or critical social services for disadvantaged populations
  • Utilities as defined in NRS Chapter 704
  • Trash collection
  • Home maintenance/repair services
  • Auto repair services & trucking service centers
  • Grocery stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, convenience & discount stores
  • Pharmacies, healthcare operations, & biomedical facilities
  • Post offices & shipping outlets
  • Gas stations & truck stops
  • Banks & financial institutions
  • Veterinary services & pet stores
  • Laundromats & dry cleaners
  • Food processing
  • Agriculture, livestock & feed mills
  • Logistics & Supply Chain Operations: Warehousing, storage, distribution, and supply-chain related operations
  • Air transportation
  • Public transportation
  • Essential stays in hotels, commercial lodging, dormitories, shelters, and homeless encampments
  • Child care centers and daycares operating in accordance with requirements set forth by their licensing authorities and COVID-19 guidance

NON-ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND SECTORS

  • Entertainment & hospitality, including but not limited to strip clubs and brothels, casinos, concert venues, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, large conference rooms, meeting halls, and cafeterias
  • Recreation and athletic facilities, including but not limited to community and recreation centers, gyms, health clubs, fitness centers, yoga, barre and spin facilities
  • Beauty and personal care services and facilities, including but not limited to barber shops, beauty, tanning, waxing hair salons, and nail salons and spas
  • Retail facilities, including shopping malls except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations. Retailers are encouraged to continue online operations with pickup and delivery.

Options for Non-Essential Businesses

In Gov. Sisolak’s latest press conference, he suggested the following options for how non-essential businesses should conduct their services:

“I’m telling nonessential businesses to find a way to service your customers through delivery, drive-thru, curbside pick-up or front door service. Otherwise, close your doors.”

Dining Guidelines

For food & beverage operators, Sisolak is directing them to shutter their dine-in operations and sub them for take-out, delivery, and drive-through options instead, while implementing strict sanitation practices.

“Pubs, wineries, bars, and breweries that do not include meals provided by a full kitchen should close,” the governor’s office advised.

Gaming Guidelines

“The Governor announced that all gaming machines, devices, tables, games, and any equipment related to gaming activity will be shut down. Restaurants and bars located within gaming properties will be subject to the same restrictions as those outside of gaming establishments.”

Cannabis Guidelines

“Licensed cannabis stores and medical dispensaries should only remain open if employees and consumers strictly adhere to the social distancing protocol. The Nevada Health Response Center is encouraging consumers to use delivery services and not congregate in stores.”

The Source Dispensary, a local Las Vegas cannabis dispensary, will be conducting regular business hours for two of their locations, which enforcing social distancing measurements, even offering free delivery for qualifying orders.

Situation Will Be Revisited for Revisions

Sisolak announced the Nevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative on March 17, after declaring a state of emergency March 12. The state emergency declaration allowed Nevada to receive more resources to help mitigate the effects of the outbreak.

The Nevada Health Response Center, the governor’s office, and local leaders will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the state and revisit/revise their guidelines as necessary.

Continue checking back for regular updates involving the coronavirus shutdown in Nevada.

McCarran Airport Will Remain Open During NV Shutdown

Airplane Flying Over Las Vegas StripWhen Gov. Steve Sisolak mandated the closure of all nonessential businesses in Nevada on Wednesday night, McCarran International Airport was flooded by concerned callers.

Luckily, McCarran Airport is considered an essential business and will remain open during the 30-day shutdown.

McCarran was prompted to post an announcement on their Twitter page after receiving the hundreds of calls to assure possible travelers and airport personnel that its facility wouldn’t be affected.

The tweet read:

“@LASairport (McCarran’s Airport International’s Twitter handle) provides essential transportation services and will remain open to serve the state’s travelers and cargo operations,”

Passenger Volume Drops

While McCarran Airport plans to operate as usual, COVID-19 has caused a major drop in passenger volume since last week. The lighter crowds have lead certain vendors to shorten their hours of operation.

The number of vendors or details on which vendors would be limiting their hours isn’t totally clear at this time, but Joseph Rajchel, a spokesman for McCarran provided additional information:

“Due to the fluidity of the situation, specifics weren’t available in terms of cutback on concessions’ hours…We have been made aware that some of the grab-and-go options have closed down. As this continues to progress, McCarran is working closely with our concession vendors to ensure customers’ needs are met.”

Air Traffic Controller Tests for COVID-19 Wednesday Night

On Wednesday night, one of McCarran Airport’s air traffic controllers had a presumed positive COVID-19 testing.

Local Las Vegas news outlets tweeted that “something strange” was going on at McCarran last night, as it caused the temporary shutdown of one of the air traffic control towers.

The airport gave the following statement detailing the current situation:

“The air traffic control tower at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is temporarily closing while we ensure a safe work environment for air traffic controllers and technicians.

On Wednesday, an air traffic controller at the facility potentially tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The Las Vegas Terminal Radar Approach Control has assumed control of the airspace. The airport remains open and operations will continue at a reduced rate until the situation is resolved.”

Passenger Precautions

Travelers are being warned to take extra precautions if they do have to travel during this period of statewide shutdown.

While McCarran is still open for flights, it’s unsure with the current state of the coronavirus whether other state airports are operating in the same way. It could be possible that if you travel to another city, or especially out of the country, that you might not be able to get back to Nevada expeditiously.

A Las Vegas couple who left for Peru last Thursday is being detained in the South American country and unable to get home. The couple said they thought it was okay to travel to Peru, because at the end of last week, Peru had minimal reports of coronavirus cases.

Right now, #STAYHOMENV is currently trending on Twitter in the Silver State.

For those needing to travel, McCarran suggests that all passengers double-check their airline’s websites to find accurate, updated information on flight statuses, cancelations, and accommodations.

The President Supports Airline Businesses Amid COVID-19

On a White House briefing on Tuesday, President Trump said, “We don’t want airlines going out of business.”

Trump also said that while domestic travel restrictions haven’t been ruled out, he kept his comments to the airline industries focused on the aid the government would be providing and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that came on Monday.

The CDC guidelines recommend avoiding unnecessary travel for the next two weeks.

According to the Associated Press, the airline industry is seeking at least $50 billion in aid because of the travel fallout due to the outbreak.

Southwest CEO, Gary Kelly, says the current state of travel has a “9/11-like feel.” In a video addressed to Southwest employees on Monday, Kelly said:

“We’re gathering up all the cash we can. …There is simply no way to know how long this crisis will last.”

Airlines for America, one of the trade groups that represent U.S. airlines, said that aid is absolutely critical to hold up the airline industry, as travel fallout continues to plummet as the days go on with no end in sight.

“This crisis hit a previously robust, healthy industry at lightning speed, and we remain concerned that the impacts of this crisis will continue to worsen,” Airlines for America said in a statement. “U.S. carriers are in need of immediate assistance as the current economic environment is simply not sustainable.”