Nevada’s Record New COVID-19 Cases Puts State in ‘Red Zone’

Welcome to Las Vegas SignAccording to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity, which cites an unpublicized document made ready for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Nevada is now among the nation’s “red zone” states for its number of COVID-19 cases.

The 18 states listed in the red zone in the document are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

The 11 states that are in the red zone for test positivity are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

What qualifies a state for “red zone” designation? It’s when a state shows over 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. When compared to the national average of 119 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, Nevada reached 173 new cases per their population of over 100,000.

According to the Nevada Health Alliance dashboard, Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate increased to 8.6 percent from 7.6 percent. The daily positivity rate also jumped, going from 11.6 percent up to 17.7 percent.

The Center for Public Integrity report advises that the state has seen stability in its COVID-19 trends most recently, but state data show a contradiction.

Nevada’s Clark County, which includes the famous Las Vegas Strip, has effectively put the state into the red zone.

Other, less populated counties, including Washoe, Elko, Nye, and Lyon, remain in the yellow zone, which means there were only 10 to 100 cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

What Actions Should ‘Red Zone’ States Be Taking?

According to the White House document, there are currently 18 states categorized in the coronavirus “red zone.”

The unpublicized documents recommend that these states return to more stringent coronavirus protective measures, which includes, but is not limited to, limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 people, shutting down bars and gyms, and asking that all residents wear masks at all times.

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, believes that there’s no reason as to why this document hasn’t been made available to the public. As a public health matter, he says that the White House document should be published and updated daily, to where all citizens can be informed and keep track of it.

Dr. Deborah Birx, a leader in the task force, says the task force is closely monitoring Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, but that the series of other states also in the red zone should seriously considering limiting social gatherings of all kind.

But while the task force has made their safety recommendations clear, some states are simply not following or going against their advice.

In their document, it states that Georgia, a red zone state for both cases and test positivity, has mandated mask use statewide whenever an individual is outside of their home. But the Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia recently signed an order on Wednesday banning localities from mandating mask use. This hasn’t been going over well with Georgia Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

According to Jessica Malaty Rivera, science communication lead at the COVID Tracking Project, she explains that if the test positivity rate is above 10 percent, that a state or county is not doing an effective job at mitigating the outbreak.

Rivera says that in an ideal world, we want test positivity levels to be at or below three percent. That rate shows the suppression of COVID-19.

How Nevada is Responding to Surge in COVID-19 Cases

With the surge in cases in the Silver State, it makes Nevada the latest state to roll back its phased reopening plan.

We saw this at Gov. Steve Sisolak’s state address last Thursday, where he mandated that all bars in several Nevada counties return to their phase one reopening restrictions. What that means is that any bar that does not serve food must shut down. Bars in restaurants and on casino floors must also remain closed and not allow anyone to sit in the bar area.

The rolled back restrictions also called for no more than a party of six at a restaurant.

On Thursday, Nevada Health Response officials announced that they have begun working with Nevada Association of Counties, Nevada League of Cities, and municipalities across the state in an effort to share their reports with local governments.

Late last month, Gov. Sisolak also mandated mask use in all casinos and nearly all public spaces in Nevada, outside of eating or drinking.

Under the Gov. Sisolak’s emergency directives, Nevada’s local governments have the power to enact more restrictive COVID-19 regulations than those issued by the governor.

While the governor has been doing his due diligence to try to stop the surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and test positivity rates, the recent bar closure mandate has not gone over well with many bars in Clark County.

In fact, 37 bars in the county are suing over the recent mandate, stating that they were in compliance with specific the COVID-19 protocols and safety measures when they reopened to the public and that their specific hospitality sector feels singled out by the order.

The governor’s directive has also rolled back on its number of people allowed at public gatherings. The current directive states that public and private gatherings must be restricted to 50 people or fewer.

Current Coronavirus Cases in Nevada

According to recent state health data, close to 123 people visiting the state, namely Las Vegas in recent weeks reported testing positive for coronavirus after returning home.

The cases have increased since casinos were allowed to reopen on June 4, but it’s hard to tell whether the casinos reopening are a result of the rise in cases or the fact that cases are surging nationwide.

So far, the biggest wave of cases was seen between June 22 and June 28, when a total of 31 visitors reported that they tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.

Eight of those 31 visitors were from Arizona, 13 from California, two visitors each from Florida, Texas, and Utah, and one resident each from Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, and Brazil.

Between the end of June through the fourth of July weekend, 24 visitors tested positive, with half of that number being visitors from California. As of early June, 46 percent of visitors who have tested positive for the virus hail from California.

As of today, Nevada has reported almost 32,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 626 COVID-related deaths.

Take a look at what’s reopening in Las Vegas at the current moment, and what’s closing down.

Stay Tuned

As we continue to monitor the situation, it’s unsure whether casinos will be impacted by the increase in COVID-19 cases.

We hope that they won’t be forced to shut down again, but we know that the safety and health of visitors and residents are paramount during this time of uncertainty that we are all faced with.

We might see that the recent bar closures will help the state’s numbers to restabilize, or that’s what we hope for at least.

Be sure to check back for more coronavirus updates in Las Vegas, and be sure to stay safe, masked up, and hands washed wherever you go!

Resorts World Las Vegas Partners with AEG for New Entertainment Venue

Entertainment Venue InteriorResorts World is one of Las Vegas’ exciting new resorts to come, alongside downtown LV’s Circa Resort. The two mega properties were in construction long before the infamous COVID-19 pandemic hit, and thankfully, construction is still going strong with their completion dates on target.

The future is still bright for Las Vegas entertainment, and Resorts World is making sure it’s going to have a giant slice of that pie.

Resorts World Las Vegas just announced that they will be welcoming a new, state-of-the-art entertainment venue within its walls, called “The Theatre.”

In a partnership with AEG, the new entertainment venue will be exclusively programmed and operated by Concerts West, which is a division of AEG presents.

In an exclusive interview with Billboard, Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas, and John Meglen, president and co-CEO of Concerts West said that The Theatre is going to “redefine the Las Vegas residency, reimagine the theatrical experience on the Strip and recast how artists create their shows.”

Sibella said Resorts World was looking for the right partnership and found that with AEG, since AEG is a veteran when it comes to the Las Vegas entertainment scene, especially when it comes to booking touring acts and residencies.

“The Theatre”: A State-of-the-Art Theatre Unlike Any Other Vegas Venue

Although Las Vegas stages and stages around the world have gone dark for the past few months, come summer 2021, that should hopefully change with Resorts World’s exciting new addition to the Vegas Strip: The Theatre.

The 5000-capacity theatre, which is being designed by Scéno Plus, will feature innovative staging and advanced technology laced throughout. Tailored to the A-list performers who will be gracing the stage, there will be VIP amenities for them all afloat.

The stage will be among one of the largest on the Strip, with dimensions of 64-feet deep by 196-feet wide, altogether making up a whopping 13,550 square feet.

Before concert-goers even feast their eyes on the venue’s massive size, they’ll be greeted by a dazzling 65-foot custom chandelier dangling inside of The Threatre’s four-story lobby, which will be decorated in hues of black and champagne.

The Theatre will also feature a multi-dimensional surround sound experience, with an audio system containing 265 speakers.

5,000 square feet of LED screens will also allow artists to display their content in a loud way.

VIP guests will get the VIP in the new concert venue, with their very own entrance, two private salons featuring lounge seating and full-service bars.

Who Will the Entertainment Lineup Include?

According to Sibella, the entertainment lineup that the new concert will feature will be as varied as the concert-goers themselves, from legendary acts to current chart-toppers.

Meglen with AEG is designing the venue to appeal to every artist in town. Meglen hopes they’ll look at the venue and ask themselves why they’re not playing there. According to Meglen, artists need the right tools, crews, and atmosphere to perform at their best. He wants the artist’s entire organization to look around The Theatre and think it’s the greatest place they’ve ever played.

Meglen has A-list experience, too. Formerly, he partnered with AEG svp John Nelson and Caesars Palace to create the famed Colosseum. The Colosseum, as you may know, has been home to superstar residencies for years, including Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Shania Twain.

Live Entertainment Still on Hold in Vegas

With Nevada’s current COVID-19 cases topping 30,000, the state will likely be in phase two of its reopening plan for a while longer. Most recently, Gov. Steve Sisolak rolled bars back to their phase one standards for reopening, causing any bar that strictly only serves alcohol to shut back down until further notice.

So of course, the elephant in Vegas’ room is that live entertainment is still shelved and won’t be able to make its debut until the Silver State reaches phase four of its recovery plan, and it’s unsure how long that will be.

Sibella says that despite live entertainment being on hold, at some point something has to give.

“There’s not a point that we’re not going to open, but you have to remember these buildings aren’t built for 50% occupancy,” Sibella says “You don’t build a theater and then all of a sudden say, ‘we only want 2,000 people in there—every other seat.’”

Sibella says the current occupancy caps could very well ruin the economic model and energy of the program. He says that things need to get better soon, or that properties on the Strip need to relook at their models and come up with a solution in how to better operate these massive buildings.

He’s hopeful that things will return to normalcy by mid-2021, and that the non-gaming revenue aspect will continue to grow. Sibella believes music fans will be leading the charge to that specific economy since they’ll be after these singular, concert experiences that the city offers so well.

Other Resorts World Updates

A few weeks ago, the 3,500-room, $4.3 billion, 88-acre luxury resort featuring three Hilton brands, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, LXR, and Conrad, unveiled their guestrooms designs for the Hilton and Conrad hotels in the complex.

The resort’s 550-square-foot premium king and queen rooms will feature bright color scheme a mix of patterns and textures, including contrasting metal and organic, earthy elements.

The design, which was imagined by KNA Design, features the theme of luxury geometric “fluidity.” The theme is evident in the wave-patterned, mixed-blue carpet and drapery, with gold accents across the room’s private bar.

The glass walk-in shower also ties into the theme, adding a contemporary aesthetic and essence to the overall look.

And just last week on Independence Day, Resorts World Las Vegas activated its 100,000-square-foot LED screen for the first time, displaying digital fireworks to onlookers.

The activation was a glimpse into the progressive technology with features in the future when it opens its doors in the summer of 2021.

The 294 feet by 340 feet LED screen is on the resort’s west tower, and there are plans to have a 19,000-square-foot LED screen on its east tower in time. The time it took to complete the west tower’s LED screen was approximately seven months.

Despite the current coronavirus climate, Resorts World Las Vegas is still on track to be completed by the summer of 2021.

Sibella said that the resort isn’t just going to be the newest Strip resort, but the first serious foothold in America by Genting Group.

About Resorts World Las Vegas

The new $4.3 billion next-generation integrated resort is the first resort to be built from the ground up in Las Vegas in almost a decade.

According to the company, the resort is being designed to appeal to a wide variety of both domestic and international tourists, with luxury and modernization at its core.

The casino gaming floor will feature 117,000 square feet of gaming, including slots, table games, a designated poker room, and high-limit areas and more.

The property will offer an array of food and beverage, with dining options ranging from authentic street food to Michelin-starred dining, as well as concepts that will be brand new to the Las Vegas Strip.

Shopping will also be available on the resort, featuring a curated luxury retail collection to tie into the resort’s essence of luxury and modern sensibility.

Resorts World will offer 350,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and banquet space.

There will also be a world-class spa and fitness facility available. The resort will have a 222,000-square-foot pool complex, including a 1,800-square-foot infinity pool offering dazzling views of the Las Vegas Strip.

Nightlight concept will also be available, featuring 65,000 square feet of nightlife and entertainment space.

About AEG Presents

AEG Presents is the live-entertainment division of the Los Angeles-based AEG. AEG Presents features various aspects of live contemporary music performances.

They operate in North America, Europe, and Asia, with 16 regional offices.

The company produces over 25 music festivals and hosts over 15,000 shows annually.

What’s Opened and Closed in Las Vegas Today?

Paris Hotel and Bellagio Resort on Las Vegas StripOver a month ago, Las Vegas casinos were given the green light to reopen its door to guests and employees on June 4. But, only a handful of casinos reopened to start, with other Strip resorts choosing to wait it out to while they examine the lay of the land in the age of reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.

MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, the largest two casino operators in the Vegas Valley, were the first to get a few of their properties on board initially.

Among the properties which have since seen the light of day from those operators after a near three-month shutdown are The Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Linq Promenade, and Paris Las Vegas.

Next up from Caesars Entertainment to reopen will be Bally’s Las Vegas, set to reopen July 23 with nearly all of its amenities open to the public. It will be the fifth Caesars property to reopen.

Las Vegas is in an interesting conundrum at the current moment. It’s seeing an increased demand in customer visitation and interest, especially with Summer in full effect and popular holidays here like the most recent 4th of July weekend, but the Silver State, along with the rest of the country, is seeing a large uptick of COVID-19 cases, and that’s forcing the city to move differently.

A lot is changing in Las Vegas to stay compliant with COVID-19 safety protocols. Just recently, casino owners are taking a serious look into changing their smoking policies.

To date, there are 23 resorts on the Las Vegas Strip that have reopened. Let’s take a look at what has opened up and closed in the famed destination this week.

Resorts Reopening, While Other Resorts Are Limiting Reservations

On Wednesday, July 1, Aria, Delano, Mandalay Bay, and Waldorf Astoria welcomed back guests in good timing, just ahead of the 4th of July weekend. The Luxor and Westgate also opened the week prior.

Caesars CEO Tony Rodio said that the decision to reopen Bally’s Las Vegas came out of seeing the heightened customer demand in visiting Las Vegas this summer.

While it’s great to see more Las Vegas resorts reopening, the city seems to be pulled in opposite directions based on the current trajectory of the virus outbreak.

According to Las Vegas-based Union Gaming analyst John DeCree, the customer demand signals are mixed and could very well remain that way for some time. DeCree explains that Vegas is mostly dependent on drive-in visitation and gaming customers, which typically make up the midweek group of business.

DeCree says that if those big groups of customers are more hesitant to come into town, that the majority of that business will be much harder to come by.

Las Vegas’ convention industry is the driving force behind the city’s midweek hotel occupancy, but with that industry down, that’s another hit to midweek numbers. Experts predict that the convention industry will take anywhere between 18 and 36 months to bounce back, much longer than the travel’s leisure industry.

Resorts Begin Limiting Reservations

With the Governor cracking down on stricter safety protocols amid the rise of coronavirus cases, resorts are taking note, with some resorts limiting weekday reservations to meet the demand of weekend travelers for the summer.

Las Vegas Sands announced last Saturday that their properties would no longer be accepting reservations on weekdays, starting July 21. The company stated the move was to be able to better reflect occupancy patterns, as a direct response to travel demand for the summer season.

The Palazzo, for example, will be closing certain hotel towers and venues, such as some of their restaurants and resort pool, midweek when the occupancy rates are much lower, and reopening them on the weekends to be available for increased customer visitation and demand.

Weekday Demand vs Weekend Demand

While the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority hasn’t released updated visitation numbers since the city’s casinos reopened on June 4, the number of casinos, and the rate to which they have opened, are an indication of the increased customer visitation and interest.

According to Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors, the city’s weekend traffic is a positive sign that Las Vegas is in a period of recovery, especially as additional properties reopen and increased air travel to Sin City.

Mandatory Mask Policy in Nevada

On June 26, mask usage became a requirement for all casino guests in Nevada. Before that, it was strongly encouraged, but not mandatory. It has been mandatory for all casino staff since reopening on June 4, however.

Masks are now a requirement for nearly all public space in the Silver State as of today.

In casinos, all individuals must wear a mask while on property and playing, except for whenever eating or drinking.

What’s All Open in Vegas?

Nobu, the hotel within Caesars Palace, recently reopened on July 2.

The Shoppes at Mandalay Place also reopened alongside the Luxor, as well as the Shark Reef Aquarium. At the Luxor, the HyperX Esports Arena, an arena for esports gamers, also opened, as well as many of Luxor’s restaurants and bars, such as Diablo’s Cantina and Pyramid Café.

Speaking of restaurants, Aria reopened its famed Catch, Jean Georges Steakhouse, and Salt & Ivy dining experiences.

At Waldorf Astoria, Zen Café reopened and so did the popular Skybar on the properties 23rd floor, which offers sweeping views of the Las Vegas Strip. Skybar also offers small bites, which allows it to stay open during the latest closure of Las Vegas bars.

On Thursday, the Fly Linq at Linq Promenade will allow visitors to begin soaring again, as well as the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. At the Paris, its popular Gordon Ramsay Steak and Eiffel Tower Restaurant reopened, that give amazing views of the Fountains of Bellagio located across the street.

Two popular Las Vegas day clubs also opened ahead of Independence Day; Liquid Pool Lounge at Aria and Wet Republic Ultra Pool at MGM Grand. Per reservation, the day clubs will be open  Thursdays through Sundays right now.

At the Cosmpolitan, their adults-only pool, Marquee, has reopened from 11 a.m. through sunset on Fridays through Sundays, with reservations required. Guests at the pool will be able to enjoy

At the Wynn, they’ve opened up their new restaurant Elio for a summer preview. The new restaurant will be serving up contemporary Mexican dishes.

What’s interesting is that the Wynn also opened up their buffet, but it came with a lot of changes due to coronavirus safety protocols. It’s not the normal long tables full of hot food where you can serve yourself. No, instead diners are required to stay at their tables and order as much food as they can handle from a server.

Bellagio’s Spago by Wolfgang Puck has also reopened from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday through Tuesday.

Topgolf, located near MGM Grand, is now open and ready to serve up some non-gaming fun to patrons.

Half of the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood have also reopened to the public, with limited hours. The adjoining Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino is still closed as of today.

And Harrah’s is getting their first performer back, Vegas’ renowned Big Elvis, a.k.a. Pete Vallee.

Downtown, the Neon Museum has reopened to a limited number of visitors, and the Mob Museum has also reopened, doing temperature checks on its guests at the door.

Bars Close Back Down

On last week’s state address, Gov. Steve Sisolak made the announcement that bars were to shut their doors again on Friday, July 10, amid the rise of COVID-19 cases in the valley.

It was another tough blow for the hospitality industry, with Vegas seemingly on its way to reopening back to normal.

Many bar owners felt slighted by the news, saying that Sisolak was targeting this specific industry, with bar owners stating that they’ve been in compliance with social distancing and other safety protocols.

Under the governor’s latest order, it has called for seven Nevada counties to return to Phase 1 restrictions for bars. Those restrictions include any bar that doesn’t serve food must close back down, and bars that do serve food are only allowed to offer curbside pickup.

It also means that bar areas of restaurants are to remain closed, with no patrons sitting in that specific area.

Now, it looks like 37 bars in Southern Nevada have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop Gov. Sisolak’s shutdown order that’s targeting these specific drinking establishments.

The lawsuit explains that 80 percent of bars were in compliance with the social distancing orders as of July 3. While 39 businesses around Southern Nevada were cited for noncompliance from June 26 through July 10, none of those businesses were businesses that served alcohol.

Current Coronavirus Status in Clark County

As of this week, Nevada reported its highest number of daily hospitalizations on Tuesday with 1,051 confirmed/suspected cases reported.

The state has also exceeded 30,000 cases, according to data provided by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The total number of current cases stands at 30,468, with 618 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nevada has been setting records for its COVID-19 trends over the past two weeks, with four of its five largest single-day increases being reported within that timeframe.

According to experts, as the capacity for more testing is made available, we can expect to see the state’s numbers climb even higher within the coming weeks.

As of Wednesday, over 457,522 tests have been administered in Nevada.

Stay Tuned

It’s hard to say what the coming weeks will look like in Las Vegas with the surge of COVID-19 cases.

We’re fortunate that casinos are remaining open, and hope that the shutdown of bars within the valley will help prevent the spread of the virus even further.

The Visit Las Vegas website is staying up-to-date on all government-ordered shutdowns and restrictions and is a good source for interested visitors who are planning to make the trip down soon.

We hope that everyone is continuing to social distance and wear masks out in public whenever possible, and staying safe!

Be sure to check back for more updates regarding the COVID-19 situation in Las Vegas.

Bally’s Las Vegas Will Reopen July 23 Amid Customer Demand

Bally's Hotel-Casino in Las VegasOn Thursday, Caesars Entertainment announced the next of its properties that will be opening: Bally’s Las Vegas, set to reopen on July 23 at 10 a.m.

So far, Caesars Entertainment has reopened the following Las Vegas properties: Caesars Palace, The Flamingo, Harrah’s, Linq Promenade, and Paris Las Vegas.

The announcement comes as the Las Vegas Strip has been seeing an increased demand in customer interest and visitation. Officially shuttered for 127 days, Bally’s will officially get to join the rest of the Caesars pack in welcoming long-forgone guests.

“We continue to see solid customer interest in visiting Las Vegas this summer and, as a result, we are pleased to announce the reopening of Bally’s Las Vegas – gaming, hotel, restaurants, and other amenities – on July 23rd,” said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment said.

Rodio explained that instead of increasing the hotel occupancy at the other properties that have already reopened, it’s in the interest of public health to open up another property instead. Currently, reopened casinos are operating at 50 percent capacity.

According to the resort owner, when the casino-hotel opens later this month, it’s expected to have nearly all of its amenities available, including the Blu Pool and the Bally’s Food Court.

The recently opened Indigo Lounge is also expected to be open by then. The lounge overlooks the casino floor, but with Governor Sisolak’s Thursday announcement that bars will return to Phase One restrictions, it’s unsure whether it will be serving patrons unless food is part of the equation.

Las Vegas Tourists Seem Unfazed by Rise of COVID-19 Cases Among Hospitality Workers

COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country, and casinos are not exempt.

So far, there have been at least 10 Strip casino workers that have tested positive for coronavirus: One worker at Bellagio, two Flamingo workers, a worker at The Linq, three workers at Sahara Las Vegas, two at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and one at Caesars Palace.

But while these growing number of cases on the Las Vegas Strip may seem startling, Las Vegas travelers seem undeterred.

A handful of tourists who came for Fourth of July weekend even said they were aware of the number of growing cases of Las Vegas hospitality workers catching the virus, but that it didn’t put a dent in their travel plans.

Stay Tuned

It’s good to see that casinos are still continuing to open in Las Vegas, despite the increase of COVID-19 cases.

It was rumored this week that casinos might be shut down for 7-10 days, but thankfully that wasn’t the case in Gov. Sisolak’s address.

For now, it’s bars across the Silver State that have scaled back to their preexisting coronavirus restrictions. That means no patrons congregating in bars, bar areas, or having bars in restaurants opened for now.

Nevada piggybacked off similar restrictions made in Texas and California last week, and it seems like the rest of the country is following suit.

Are you excited for Bally’s to reopen? Have you made a trip to Las Vegas yet or are you a local who’s excited that some things are beginning to resemble “normal” Vegas? Share with us in the comments below!

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

Bellagio Sportsbook Error Could Be Costliest in Las Vegas History

Bellagio SportsbookAs if the city of Las Vegas could afford another financial hit after its near three-month closure of casinos due to the COVID-19 outbreak, what happened at the Bellagio’s books last Sunday could possibly result in an almost quarter-million of winning wagers that were made by mistake.

This could be the biggest sportsbook loss on bets made after an event already started in Las Vegas history.

So what happened? According to an ESPN report, Sunday’s incorrect bets were able to be placed because of inaccurate start times were posted on a series of Korean and Chinese baseball games due to a manual entry error made by an employee.

Approximately 50 wagers were placed on self-service kiosks at the Bellagio between the hours of between 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m., when the games that those bets were placed on actually started at 1 a.m. and 2 a.m, which means bets were able to be placed while the games were still going on, giving bettors an advantage.

One of the highest paying bets was made on a $250, 10-leg parlay. The payout? Over $137,100.

Bookmakers Say It’s a Common Mistake in the Industry

While not on the same scale, several Las Vegas bookmakers say that the mistake of taking bets during a live game is common in the industry. Of course, they don’t recall a larger loss than this one.

Westgate sports book director John Murray explained that this error has probably happened to nearly every sportsbook since the beginning of time

These past-post errors are quite common in the world of sports betting because of human entry. It typically happens when an employee manually enters the wrong start times, or due to a typo.

Nevada Gaming Control Board is Looking into the Matter

Since the dispute of earnings made from the flub was over $500, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is reportedly investigating the matter.

It will be dependent on the Control Board whether or not to decide whether the earnings from the bets will be honored or not.

According to Robert Walker, USBookmaking director of sportsbook operations, he says that when the Gaming Control Board gets involved, it usually shows favor to the bettors than the books.

“We had (the GCB) come out several times,” Walker said. “We got ruled against most of the time.”

Stay Tuned

We’ll have to stay tuned to what the Control Board has to say on MGM Resort’s costly sportsbook error.

The mega casino operator says it has its sights set on becoming a developer, manager, and operator of major gaming, rather than being a capital-focused real estate business.

That means MGM Resorts International is focusing on sports and live entertainment, committing itself toward becoming a company that will utilize asset-light strategy.

Hopefully, this mistake doesn’t impede on the company’s future goals. Be sure to check back for more updates regarding Las Vegas and other sports betting news!

Cashless Gaming Systems Coming to Las Vegas Casinos

Cashless Gaming System on Table GameOn Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Commission made the first steps toward elevating financial transactions to the digital realm in casinos. The commission approved of eight amendments to current standing regulations on cashless gaming systems.

Industry leaders think that the new gaming system rules could change casino procedures in the same way that “ticket in-ticket out” technology did when it was first introduced in the 1990s.

The amendments made Thursday are effective immediately. The move might see a variety of new systems produced for casinos that would enable casino guests to easily move their money from their bank accounts through the use of debit cards or prepaid debit cards, and over to slot machines and table games.

Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan has been a long advocate for more cashless solutions in casinos, and believes that the new technology would do wonders at attracting new customers, but also be beneficial to the industry by creating a space for more responsible gaming measures.

Morgan earlier this year said that requests to introduce cashless technology have slowed over the past nine months, but it seems that the current coronavirus pandemic we’ve been living through in the US over the past few months has pushed cashless gaming systems back into the limelight.

In fact, Brendan Bussmann, a gaming industry consultant and partner with Global Market Advisors, said that the nationwide shutdown of casinos back in mid-March

Sights on Clean Technology Spurred by COVID-19 Outbreak

Spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak gaining much more traction now. With high-touch surfaces being something that the virus can live on several days, it’s caused a lot of people to be more cautious with handling cash in the meantime.

Companies are now looking to clean technology to replace germy cash, with this being the driving force behind the commission’s speedier amendment approval.

According to medical experts, consumers should be cautious with what they do with their hands when handling a wad of cash or making a withdrawal from the ATM.

Dr. Ellen Foxman, an assistant professor in Yale’s Department of Laboratory Medicine, advised that the virus can stay on surfaces for several days on things you touch, including cash.

Now, several different casino companies are beginning to join forces with the cashless gaming systems that were approved for licensing by commissioners, including Everi Holdings, IGT, Scientific Games, and NRT Technology Corp.

While many consumers are concerned with how contaminated dollar bills might actually be right now, expects still advise that chances of being infected after handling cash is still low compared to other methods of potentially contracting the virus, such as person-to-person contact.

Mainly, COVID-19 spreads through droplets released into the air whenever a COVID-19 carrier coughs or sneezes, but also through the surfaces we come into contact with. Still, it makes the cash for utilizing digital financial transactions and wearing face masks and gloves while out in public stronger.

Cash in No Longer the #1 Payment Choice for Americans

In today’s digital age, it’s not a surprise that cash is no longer the preferred payment choice for American consumers. In fact, it’s only used in just one in four transactions. Debit card payment is now the preferred payment choice, even over credit cards for department store buys.

A study from the 2019 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice found that cash was the third most preferred payment method, and that the preference for cash has decreased over the last three years.

The share of cash use tends to be the highest among two specific groups: Younger age groups, among individuals 18 to 25-years-old, and individuals over the age of 45.

The coronavirus has turned, or urged rather, Americans to turn their attention to digital tools. This is evident in casinos utilizing mobile check-ins for their hotel stays, rather that face-to-face interaction with a front desk agent.

According to Christopher Justice, president of the gaming solutions division for Global Payments, a number of studies has found that a third of the population today is afraid to use cash because of the coronavirus.

With coronavirus taking out the industry in two weeks, Justice says we have to think differently about deploying different solutions. And it looks like different industries are doing that, from the gaming industry to the food industry.

Many restaurants are now using QR codes, typically set up near the host stand, that patrons who own a smartphone can use to scan and have the menu pop up onto their phone rather than providing them with a physical copy.

All of these things are being done in an effort to reduce physical contact in the age of COVID-19.

However, for some groups, such as low-income households, it may not be possible to avoid using cash, in the same way that it’s not possible to avoid touching a door handle. For those who typically use cash, the best prevention method for catching COVID-19 is thoroughly washing hands before eating or touching your face, according to Foxman.

Typical Cash-Use in Casinos

If you’ve ever stopped to really think about it, you’ll realize that most, if not all, gambling transactions are initiated through the use of cash.

Visitors coming to Las Vegas hoping to win big will either have a designated stockpile of cash to be used on table games or slot machines, or they will pull the money out of the casino ATM’s or head to the bank to pull out the funds necessary for their desired play.

In fact, only a small number of casinos throughout the country allow other methods of payment, including credit and debit cards, with some allowing PayPal, Apple, and Google pay.

AGEM Supports the Amendment Changes

Years ago, actually, Nevada outlawed direct credit card-use on a slot machine.

The reasoning? Mike Rumbolz, a former Control Board chairman and a CEO for both casino operators and manufacturers, said credit cards is one instrument that causes the most concern for people. Rumbolz explains that it’s gambling with money you don’t actually have, whereas a debit card is directly tied to a checking account.

In a letter to the commission board, Dan Reaser, an attorney for the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM), says that driving the gaming industry toward a cashless environment is bound to have profoundly positive impacts.

The letter was prefaced with the impact that ticket-in/ticket-out technologies made over a decade ago in the industry.

Reaser explains that the positive impacts will include enhanced legal compliance, improved public health, and safety, especially now with casinos reopened amid a global pandemic, more gaming operating efficiency, and more responsible gaming alternatives.

AGEM Executive Director Marcus Prater says these regulatory changes have to start somewhere, and that Nevada should be the one to take the lead on it to inspire the rest of the industry to follow suit.

A Closer Look into the Amendment Changes

The amendment approval covers two regulations directly concerning the electronic transfers of money to games or other gaming devices.

While the current regulations allow for customers to transfer money from a debit card to a gaming device, very few properties have licensed systems in place to do that legally or efficiently.

Other amendment changes include a daily monetary transfer limit, and displaying digital messages on messages that encourage responsible gaming, which will include the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

Gaming Commission Member Deborah Fuetsch says that by removing the prohibition of a cashless wagering system in approving these specific systems, is opening the door for new, more efficient, and responsible gaming technology.

Timeframe for Allowing Digital Payments on Casino Floors

Everything has a time and place for action, and for digital payments on the casino floor, it’s clear that COVID-19 has sped up that time and place to happen much sooner.

The American Gaming Association (AGA), the Washington, D.C.-based trade organization, announced a framework last week for when digital payments could be allowed on casino floors. They stated that the public demand for this type of cashless gaming system has increased most recently.

While the coronavirus pandemic has increased the public’s demand and interest for cashless gaming, the AGA was already leading an 18-month collaborative industry-wide effort to create a structure that would cover eight necessary principles for modernizing casino payments across the country.

Cashless Systems Would Include Cashless Sports Betting

Cashless systems will revolutionize casino payments entirely, which includes how wagers would be handled in sportsbooks as well.

The new system could potentially allow race and sports bettors to fund their mobile betting accounts through some sort of digital transfer, which would likely save them a trip to the casino.

Bussmann, a partner with Global Marketing Partners, said that for the most part, Nevada casinos have been reluctant to back mobile funding that could be done from home, in an effort to get customers onto gaming properties instead.

But, Bussman said that the pandemic allowed insight into how successful funding from home could be. He pointed that it’s been done successfully in New Jersey, and how the South Point casinos in Las Vegas and William Hill had to get creative during the shutdown in how bettors could fund their accounts.

Bussman believes there shouldn’t have to be a drive-thru system in place to fund customer accounts.

Stay Tuned

The commission approving these amendments seems promising for cashless gaming systems to arrive in Las Vegas casinos, and casinos nationwide, possibly by year-end.

It will still be a process to get the right digital systems in place, but with COVID-19 still around, momentum is moving quickly.

What do you think about Las Vegas casinos, or casinos anywhere for that matter, using cashless gaming systems?

Do you think it will be a more effective and responsible gaming solution? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new technology below.

Be sure to check back for more updates regarding cashless gaming systems and Las Vegas coronavirus coverage.

Lucky Poker Player Wins $250k at Flamingo Las Vegas

Texas Hold'em Poker Game & CardsIt’s a good thing that casinos in Las Vegas have reopened because one lucky poker player just hit the jackpot of his life at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

According to a Flamingo spokesperson, the gambler hit the progressive jackpot playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em out on the casino floor Thursday night.

The gambler, who did not wish to be identified, was in an “excited state of shock” after his major win. His total jackpot came out to $254,844.

Other Big Wins Since Casinos Reopened

A day after Caesar’s Palace reopened on June 4, one guest won an incredible $670,637 progressive jackpot playing the Let it Ride poker game.

The guest also wished to remain anonymous.

Caesar’s Palace closure marked the first time the casino had ever been closed since it originally opened 54 years ago.

Slots players across the Las Vegas Strip are also making out since the city’s casinos have reopened. A guest won $57,000 playing a slot machine at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Another lucky gambler at Flamingo Hotel hit a $100,000 jackpot playing the Triple Red Hot slot machine.

And four days after Red Rock casino reopened, a gambler hit a near 10 grand jackpot on a panda slot machine.

Boyd Gaming Wins

Boyd Gaming has also welcomed back its Southern Nevada guests with rewarding nine jackpots of $10,000 or more.

In the month of June, over $154,000 in major jackpots have been won including:

  • A guest at Cannery Casino Hotel who won the $10,500 jackpot while playing the Dragon Link: Golden Century on June 7.
  • A guest at Gold Coast Hotel and Casino who hit a royal flush playing video poker, winning a $20,000 jackpot on June 15.
  • A guest at Suncoast Hotel and Casino who won a $40,000 jackpot playing Triple Triple Bonus Video Poker on June 17.
  • A guest at Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa who won over $12,500 playing Dancing Drums on June 19.
  • The following day on June 20, another lucky guest at Aliante started their birthday off on the right note by hitting a $10,500 jackpot while playing the Drop & Lock machine. On the same day, another Aliante guest hit a jackpot over $10,000 while playing Four Card Keno.
  • A guest at Suncoast won a $10,000 jackpot on a Double Double Bonus Poker Machine on June 20.
  • A guest at Fremont Hotel and Casino won an over $30,000 jackpot playing Abundant Fortune.
  • Another guest at Suncoast won a jackpot close to $10,500 playing a Triple Double Bonus Poker machine.

New Mask Requirement for Casinos in Las Vegas

Three weeks after the COVID-19 shutdown was lifted, properties in Las Vegas began opening again, but not all at once. Caesars Entertain and MGM Resorts have a few selected properties reopening, including Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, Harrah’s, the Bellagio, New York-New York, and MGM Grand.

Beginning Friday, Governor Sisolak mandated that masks must be worn in all of Nevada’s public indoor spaces, which means in all casinos too. Masks are not a requirement after weeks where guests were encouraged, but not mandated, to wear them.

Casino visitors must keep their masks on except whenever eating or drinking. Since reopening, masks were always a requirement for casino staff.

The ruling went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, following Gov. Sisolak’s new “No shirt. No shoes. No mask. No service” slogan that he announced on Wednesday. Social distancing protocols and other coronavirus safety protocols remain in effect.

Sisolak’s ruling comes on the heels of a similar mandate issued by California governor Gavin Newsom last week. Newsom’s ruling required that all reopened casinos and card rooms require guests and players to wear masks.

Now, visitors who enter Las Vegas casinos will be offered a face covering and will be turned away if they refuse to wear one.

Nevada joins several other states in seeing its COVID-19 cases rise, and we’re hoping that the new face mask mandate will stifle the curve.

Stay Tuned

We’re happy to see that gamblers can once again play to their heart’s content, and not only that but cash out in big ways.

It’s definitely what was needed after a long quarantine. We hope that this new mask requirement will allow players and casino guests to remain safe while casinos stay reopened.

Be sure to check back for more Las Vegas jackpot updates and news!

Circa Las Vegas to Be an ‘Adult-Only’ Casino When It Opens

Fremont Street ExperienceDowntown’s hottest new casino, the Circa Resort & Casino, will be an adult-only property when it opens this October.

The casino, which bumped up its opening date from December to Oct. 28, is making is creating a whole new “mystique” where grown-ups could come and play. It will be an entertainment and hospitality hub downtown, seeking to provide over-the-top experiences that you won’t be able to get anywhere else.

Circa’s name itself reflects its goal of marrying vintage Vegas hospitality with modern splendor by honoring the golden ages of Sin City, circa 1940, 1980, and 2020. The beautiful new project is a joint effort by the Stevens brothers, Derek and Greg.

While Las Vegas was originally marketed to bring in an adult crowd, throughout the 1990s, the city worked hard to attract families. This was evident in the amount of entertainment geared toward kids, think MGM’s former amusement park, the old Wet n’ Wild water park that was once located adjacent to the Sahara Las Vegas, and Circus Circus’ popular Adventure Dome among other themed attractions.

Now, the Circa is trying to break new grounds…and in more ways than one. In fact, it’s the first ground-up hotel and casino to be built in Downtown Las Vegas since the Lucky Dragon, which opened up in 2016. It’s now also the tallest building north of the Las Vegas Strip, standing pretty at 44 stories tall, and nearly 500 feet high.

The exciting new property will add to owner Derek Steven’s downtown empire, which includes the popular Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and the D Las Vegas. He’s being intentional with the new Circa, with an emphasis on Vegas’ lucky number 7. Circa will have 777 total rooms and suites that will fill up the mega 25 million-square-foot property.

While it stands at 44 stories tall, the floor numbers will actually go 60 levels up, but Stevens explained that some floor numbers will be purposely left out.

But, the newest player in downtown Las Vegas will have a lot to write home about. The one-of-a-kind resort will feature one-of-a-kind amenities, such as the largest sportsbook in all of Vegas, a 9-story parking garage, a multi-tiered pool amphitheater with a year-round temperature-controlled pool, and more.

Circa’s Game-Changing Features

Let’s dive into exactly what will make Circa the most exciting new property to hit the Las Vegas valley this decade.

Vegas’ Largest New Sports Book

Stevens was inspired to create the biggest sportsbook in Las Vegas after recalling the feeling he got when he noticed the splendor of the then Las Vegas Hilton Superbook in 1986.

As a lover and sports and sports betting, he vowed to fulfill his vision of someday creating a state-of-the-art, multi-level sportsbook that would be in a class of its own in a city filled with sportsbooks.

Circa’s new 3-story sportsbook is being built stadium-style and will feature the biggest screen in sportsbook history. The sportsbook will have two floors of stadium seating, and the third floor of it will feature a studio for the Vegas Sports and Information Network (VSiN).

There will be five media studios in total at the Circa Sportsbook, with the other studios being available for various other broadcasts.

Stevens wants Circa’s sportsbook to recreate that exact same “wow” feeling he first got over 30 years ago at the former Hilton. And it sounds like there’s going to be hundreds of thousands of those reactions to come.

“We want to create something that people don’t forget. For me, I’ll never forget that moment I walked into the Las Vegas Hilton (now Westgate) SuperBook. I looked around, and I thought to myself, ‘my god, this is the greatest place on Earth right here.’”

Garage Mahal

Circa’s first-of-its-kind 9-story parking garage, called “Garage Mahal,” will make it convenient for guests to come downtown.

It was designed with today’s popular form of transportation in mind: ride-sharing. Uber and Lyft will be able to easily access the garage, taking passengers to and from the property, making it an easy access point for patrons in the area.

The World’s Coolest Rooftop Pool

Circa’s multi-tiered pool is planning on being recognized as the “greatest pool in the world” once it’s open to the public. The pool will be more than just a place to take a dip, it’ll double as an events center.

It’ll feature multiple levels, with a 134-by-41-foot video as its special draw.

The video screen will allow for various customized experienced, making it an excellent sports-viewing experience. There will be six different pools for guests to enjoy, and able to accommodate 4,000 people.

And it’s not its massive size or design that will set it apart from any other pool in Las Vegas, or the rest of the world for that matter, but its temperature control system that will make it possible for the pool to remain open 365 days out of the year.

That’s new for a pool in Las Vegas, whereas other Vegas pools typically shut down for the winter, reopening in the Spring for guests. It’s gearing up to be the hottest Spring Break/March Madness locale in Sin City.

Vegas Vickie

Vegas Vickie, an iconic, kicking cowgirl statue that used to perch proudly above the Fremont Street Experience, is coming back to life inside of Circa’s hotel lobby, where she’ll live.

Many Vegas veterans will recognize her, adding that vintage flair that the company is trying to capitalize on.

Adults-Only

In the early 2000s in Vegas, the city began to make the shift from marketing toward the whole family, to shifting the focus back to a more adult-themed playground as originally envisioned.

Circa will serve as a reprieve for those not traveling with children or to those who don’t have them, as being the first adult-only exclusive resort in Las Vegas in 2020.

Four Restaurants Will Debut in October Opening

When the property opens this October, there will be four different dining establishments for guests to choose from.

Barry S. Dakake, who most recently the executive chef at Scotch 80 Prime at the Palms, will make his return to the Vegas dining scene with Barry’s Downtown Prime. It will feature vintage steak and seafood cuisine.

Paul Siginaw, a Michigan restaurateur, will be opening up Saginaw’s Delicatessen. The deli will feature traditional items such as Reubens, matzo ball soup, latkes, salads, chopped liver, breakfast favorites, and more.

The family who owns the 102-year-old American Coney Island franchise will bring Victory Burgers & Wings Co. to the Circa, which will be located near the three-story sports book screen.

Victory Burger will feature specialty burgers, such as the half-pound burger Victory Burger which will be prepared using a special blend of short rib, brisket, and Angus beef.

And finally, chef Rex Bernales will be opening up Project BBQ. It will feature Carolina-style barbecue dishes including pulled brisket, pork, and chicken. The restaurant will include patio dining and an outdoor bar situated on the Fremont Street Experience.

In December, Chef Dan Coughlin, the chef who runs Le Thai on Fremont East District, will open up his Pan-Asian restaurant 8 East. It will feature Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai dishes

Circa Las Vegas Opening Ahead of Schedule

The new resort was originally slated for a Dec. 2020 opening launch, but with the way that 2020 has gone, they’re decided to push the opening date even earlier.

Now, Oct. 28 will see the first five floors of amenities and “Garage Mahal” fully functioning and opening to the public.

When the resort opens, it will open with an unannounced number of rooms to start, the casino gaming floor, the three-story race and sports book, its various restaurants and bars, the glamorous pool, and a multi-tiered outdoor amphitheater.

To accomplish the ahead-of-schedule move, construction workers were reallocated from Circa’s hotel tower to finish construction on the property’s first five floors.

Beginning Wednesday at 9 a.m., the property will begin taking reservations. Once it opens, it’s expected to have 1,000 staff members on hand.

Stay Tuned

Perhaps Circa is opening ahead of schedule with all of the changes in tourism caused by the COVID-19, but we’re glad that it will be ready for the public to experience just ahead of Halloween weekend.

What do you think of the resorts’ “adult-only” restriction? Does it make you more inclined to stay at the resort?

Share your thoughts with us below! And be sure to check back for the latest Las Vegas news.

3 Casinos in Arizona Close Temporarily Amid Rise of COVID-19 Cases

Gila Rivers Casino in ArizonaAs the coronavirus cases in Arizona, and other states, are on the rise, it has forced Gila River Hotels & Casinos to close three of their casinos for at least two weeks as they reevaluate their safety protocols and procedures.

Those three casinos are Wild Horse Pass, Vee Quiva, and Lone Butte.

This marks the second closure for casinos in Arizona, after casino doors were shuttered in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak, joined the rest of the country in close down casinos to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The three Gila River casinos reopened on May 15, as Arizona Governor Doug Ducey lifted the state’s stay-at-home order. Some AZ residents believed it was too soon for casinos to reopen, as others were glad to return ahead of the rest of the country.

When casinos reopened, casino operators and tribal companies set force specific coronavirus safety protocols, such as having staff wear facial masks and encouraging patrons to wear them as well.

Effective June 18 at 2 a.m., the three properties effectively shut down as questions about the casino company’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus have been posed. It also comes after a security guard at Gila’s Lone Butte Casino died from COVID-19.

The security guard, 68-year-old Robert Washington of Chandler, AZ, returned to his job as a security guard once casinos reopened. According to his daughter, he died of complications related to COVID-19. Washington was in the susceptible age bracket, a diabetic and had recently beaten prostate cancer.

According to Gila officials, the company strengthened its policies last week mandating all patrons to wear masks when on the casino properties. Now that the properties will be closed for at least the next two weeks, the company advises it will be strengthening and reevaluating its current safety standards.

Family of Affected Casino Worker Mourns and Implores State to Take Virus Seriously

The family of Robert Washington, who unfortunately passed away after contracting the virus upon returning to his job at the casino, is in mourning and requesting that the state of Arizona take coronavirus seriously.

Washington’s daughter, Lina Washington of Sacramento, has spoken out publically, demanding that customers, employees, and elected officials alike take the threat of COVID-19 as seriously as possible, to avoid another coronavirus-related death from happening.

In Lina’s eyes, she feels the state could have done more when it came to providing guidance to businesses upon reopening. She believes proper guidance could have kept employees, like her father, safe against the threat of the virus.

Lina says it’s not just her dad, but others who will be affected as the number of cases in Arizona continues to increase, and that someone needs to be held accountable for those who are being directly impacted by COVID-19.

While Lina believes her father wouldn’t want her disclosing personal information about him in the news, she’s doing so because she believes his death was “100 percent preventable,” and that if she can help prevent this happening to another daughter or family, she will continue to go on the record with it.

She says as long as people continue to be negligent to the fact that this pandemic is “very real,” that this will not be a unique case and unfortunately will continue to happen until everyone takes it as seriously as it is.

On the day that casinos reopened in the state, Lina’s father told her it was a frightening scene in that around eighty percent of people weren’t wearing masks.

Her father was originally told that upon returning to work, he would be able to work outside on the golf cart to patrol casino grounds. Instead, he had to staff the security desk on the casino floor, interacting with every patron that entered and exited the casino.

Lina believes that mandating all visiting patrons to wear masks could have helped prevent her father from catching the virus. She’s hoping that her story will spur change within the state and her community.

Current COVID-19 Cases in AZ

Today, the Arizona Department of Health Services has confirmed 3,591 new cases of COVID-19 and 42 related deaths. Previously, the state saw its record number of cases last Thursday, and 1,000 new cases were added in the last five days, showing a near-double case count from last week.

For the first time since the virus outbreak, hospitalizations in the state have exceeded 2,000, with 2,136 beds occupied by possible and confirmed COVID-19 patients on Monday, compared with 1,992 hospitalizations from the day before.

Arizona has been one of the states with the most relaxed coronavirus restrictions throughout the country, but it looks like the rapid and significant rise of COVID-19 cases will cause the state to enforce stricter rules on mask usage.

Arizona Modeled Sin City’s Reopening Protocols

Arizona’s safety protocols mirrored that of Nevada casinos, which required casino staff to wear masks, but not enforcing mask usage for casino guests.

However, the Nevada Gaming Control Board recently updated its safety guidelines last week, to include more stringent practices when it comes to facial coverings.

Now, any individual wishing to play table games must wear a face mask if plastic barriers aren’t installed to safely separate gamblers when playing. Cashless gaming could also be a reality soon for Nevada casinos.

According to Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business, he believes Nevada is doing a “pretty good job” at observing the CDC guidelines that have been put into place to help stop the spread of the virus.

Gros noted that casinos are doing a better job at following the rules than their patrons. Gros has noticed that around only 25 percent of guests are wearing masks in Strip casinos, and around 40 percent of guests are wearing masks in the local casinos.

Beyond the rules that were recently updated this week, Gros doesn’t believe that the state’s Control Board will mandate guests to wear masks. He believes that Las Vegas and Nevada wants to remain more “player-friendly” and will likely resist making any enforcements unless absolutely necessary.

But according to Gros, he would rather see everyone wearing a mask in Las Vegas than to have to see it get shut down again because of cases of COVID-19 increase.

Today, not surprisingly, there have already been a handful of confirmed cases of COVID-19 coming out of the Las Vegas Strip. A kitchen worker at Bellagio’s Mayfair Supper Club tested positive last week, forcing the live entertainment and dining venue to temporarily close. A worker at the Flamingo testing positive on the same day and two concierge workers at the Cosmopolitan have also recently tested positive.

There have also been confirmed cases of workers in restaurants on and off the Las Vegas Strip. A worker at Guy Fieri’s restaurant who tested positive for COVID-19 caused the establishment to close back down this week.

Updated Procedures

On June 16, Gila River’s Chief Security and Surveillance Officer Doug Simpson explained that the health and safety of the casino’s employees and guests were paramount and that the main priority for the company right now is implementing an extensive new set of safety measures across its three properties upon reopening.

Those updated safety measures include:

  • A new casino floor layout to comply with social distancing
  • Allowing casinos to operate at capped capacity; 50 percent at most
  • Increased cleaning and sanitation performed on high-touch areas
  • Providing all employees with protective personal equipment
  • Testing all casino staff every two weeks until further notice

Throughout the two-week closure, all Gila River employees will continue to be paid in full and receive full medical benefits.

Arizona Shuts Down Casinos as NJ Prepares to Finally Reopen

Throughout the country, Arizona casinos are currently the only ones to shut back down after reopening to the public.

But while Arizona casinos have shut down to reassess its safety standards, it looks like New Jersey casinos are finally preparing to reopen in time for the 4th of July weekend, after a three-month coronavirus shutdown.

On July 2, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey will reopen its Atlantic City casinos at 25 percent capacity to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In a tweet, Murphy also shared that additional health and safety guidelines will be released within the next several days.

Alongside the state’s casinos reopening, indoor dining will also be allowed to resume across the state at the same 25 percent capped capacity.

What we know now is that face covering and health screenings will be required for both casino patrons and staff members. Anyone who is not in compliance will be asked to leave the premises or escorted out if need be.

Gov. Murphy is adamant about not allowing those who don’t wish to comply with the important reopening requirements to ruin it for those who wish to return to casinos and dining establishments responsibly, calling anyone who wishes not to comply “knuckleheads” who the state will not tolerate in its reopening.

Murphy explained that the reopening of gambling halls will allow thousands of New Jerseyans to get back to work, and that reopening has been a long-time coming, but it’s been delayed to make sure it can be done safely with minimal risk and health damage done to casino staff and patrons.

Stay Tuned

It’s unfortunate to see the rise of  COVID-19 cases across Arizona and various states throughout the country.

Hopefully, casino operators will find a way to keep their doors open while ensuring that casino staff and patrons remain healthy. We also hope that casino guests will continue to conduct themselves responsibly while out in casinos and other public establishments.

What do you think? Do you think casino operators in Arizona need to do more to ensure staff and guest safety, or do you think patrons need to practice more coronavirus safety measures?

We hope that casinos in other states won’t have to shut back down and that patrons will be able to enjoy themselves responsibly.

Please remain safe out there, and continue to wear your masks and wash your hands! Be sure to check back for more updates regarding casinos reopening amid the pandemic.

Caesars Entertainment Report 2 COVID-19 Cases at Flamingo Casino in LV

Flamingo Hotel in Las VegasLas Vegas finally reopened some of its popular casinos on June 4, after Gov. Sisolak declared the Phase 2 reopening for the state after COVID-19 trends stabilized into a downward trajectory.

Now, two weeks later, reports of additional COVID-19 cases are emerging from the Las Vegas Strip.

On Thursday, two positive COVID-19 cases at the Flamingo hotel-casino were confirmed by a Caesars Entertainment spokesperson. The spokesperson also confirmed that contact tracing protocols were being implemented as a precautionary safety measure.

The company’s representatives did not confirm whether the positive cases were staff members or guests. According to health officials, it can take an average of five to six days before coronavirus symptoms show up after first being exposed to the virus. However, symptoms can also remain dormant for us to 14 days following initial exposure.

On Wednesday, another case coming from the Strip was confirmed when a kitchen worker out of Bellagio’s Mayfair Supper Club testing positively for COVID-19. The Supper Club, which is a part-dining, part-entertainment venue, was one of the few live entertainment options currently available on the Las Vegas Strip.

It was temporarily forced to shut down on Wednesday after the worker tested positive.

Flamingo Hotel Hosted First Pool Party Amid Reopening

After 78 days of lockdown, the Flamingo hosted Las Vegas’ first pool party to welcome back guests in true Flamingo fashion.

Casino executives, like Regional President Eileen Moore Johnson and Ken Janssen were on deck to greet guests looking to escape the Vegas heat and have a good time again, as well as showgirls dressed in Flamingo-colored two-pieces with feathers and masks.

Many pools on reopened Strip properties have opened its door alongside their respective casinos, and they’ve been packed with people the past two weekends.

It’s good to see the pent-up demand that Vegas has been met with since reopening. There has, however, been an unfortunate trend of people not wearing masks while out and about on Las Vegas Boulevard.

So much so, that the Nevada Gaming Control Board made updated to its health and safety protocols in an effort to get people to treat mask usage more seriously.

In fact, Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, will be keeping the state in Phase 2 longer as he’s disappointed in the number of people out and about who aren’t wearing masks and taking the threat of the virus more seriously.

Coronavirus Numbers in Nevada

On Friday, Nevada saw its largest single-day increase of cases since the pandemic started, with 410 cases. It surpasses Monday’s total of 379 positive cases.

Nevada now has 12,486 confirmed cases, with 9,852 of those cases coming out of Clark County. There have been no new reported COVID-19-related deaths, with the state’s total death count at 478.

It seems the positive number of cases has been on the rise due to a number of factors. For one, the testing capacity in the state has increased, and public gatherings for up to 50 people have been approved. Of course, the reopening of major casinos and hotel properties is likely a contributing factor as well.

$10 Million Steakhouse to Open on July 2 at Flamingo

It’s unsure whether the rise of confirmed cases will delay the plans that Flamingo has to debut their new $10 million steakhouse on July 2, but we’ll see.

The steakhouse, which will be called the Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse, will pay homage to Vegas’ historic roots. It’s named after for Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, two men tied closely to Las Vegas history and the city’s birth.

The restaurant will feature a hidden speakeasy called The Count Room. Other special features include a dry meat cooler, bakery façade, centerpiece bar and lounge, a raw bar, a decorative dining room and three private dining rooms.

Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse will begin accepting reservations for July 2, while following Caesar’s Entertainment enhanced health and safety protocols. Those protocols include spacing tables six feet apart and allowing 50 percent capacity to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Hand sanitizing stations will also be placed around the restaurant and restaurant employees will be required to wear masks.

Caesars Entertainment Reopens Paris Las Vegas

On Thursday, June 18, Caesars Entertainment opened up its fourth property to the public. After the successful reopenings of Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas, The LINQ Promenade and High Roller Observation Wheel, Paris Las Vegas was the next property to resume its gaming and hospitality operations.

To commemorate the momentous occasion, Paris Las Vegas had a big French-inspired reopening featuring can-can dancers, a Monsieur Loyal ringmaster, and Caesars Entertainment executive members on hand to greet visitors.

Guests to the newly reopened property can expect to see renovated rooms and suites, a variety of food and beverage amenities, and have access to the fitness center and outdoor pool.

To honor the reopening, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas will also showcase a free light show happening every half hour from dusk to midnight through June 30.

The property intends to comply with reopening directives and guidelines provided by Governor Sisolak, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and public health authorities.

Paris Las Vegas Open Dining Options

Arc Bar – daily, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

BEER PARK – daily, 2 p.m. to close

Café Americano – daily, 6 a.m. to noon

Café Belle Madeleine – breakfast daily, 5 a.m. to noon

Eiffel Tower Restaurant – daily, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Gordon Ramsay Steak – Thursday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Gustav’s Bar – daily, 24 hours

HEXX Kitchen + Bar – daily, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

JJ’s Boulangerie (dining room) – daily, 24 hours

La Creperie – breakfast daily, 6 a.m. to noon

La Pizza (express window) – daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Le Cabaret Bar – daily, 2 p.m. to close

Le Central Bar – daily, 24 hours

Mon Ami Gabi – daily, 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Pool and Fitness Center Hours

Soleil Pool – daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (hours subject to change dependent on weather)

Voie Fitness Center – daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bellagio & Caesars Palace Reopen Their Poker Rooms

Poker Room in Bellagio Casino Las VegasThe Bellagio and Caesars Palace, which were the first of MGM Resorts and Caesars International properties to reopen on June 4, reopened their poker rooms two weeks later on Thursday, June 18 at 10 a.m.

They’re not the first casinos to reopen their poker rooms, however, trailing behind The Golden Nugget, The Orleans, The Venetian, the South Point, and Sahara Las Vegas, who reopened its poker room on the same day.

Per guidelines provided by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, poker games are limited to five players per table. Bellagio received approval for six-handed tables. Plexiglass dividers will be placed in between players in compliance with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. While masks on players are not required, at least not yet, they are being strongly encouraged. Masks on dealers and other Bellagio casino personnel are mandatory.

According to the official press release, The Bellagio poker room will be open daily, 24 hours a day, all throughout the week. The poker room will host cash games only initially, with no tournaments allowed at the current time. Players will not be allowed to eat in the room, and no guests or spectators will be allowed in.

According to a Caesars spokesperson, the Caesars Palace poker room will use five-handed tables, and all players will be required to wear masks. The hours of operations are from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Bellagio’s poker room is one of the premier poker rooms in all of Vegas. Its high-stakes room is known as “Bobby’s Room,” named after former MGM Resorts International executive Bobby Baldwin, who was the 1978 World Series of Poker champ. Baldwin also regularly hosts big poker tournaments throughout the world.

The largest poker room in the world also reopens today at 6 p.m. It’s located inside of the Commerce Casino, which is located just outside of Los Angeles. Games here will be played eight-handed, and players are required to wear masks with plexiglass barriers to divide players safely.

World Series of Poker Online Starts in July

In-person poker is coming back slowly but surely in the gambling mecca of the world, but another major poker event is getting the green light to start in July; that’s the World Series of Poker.

While it won’t be an in-person event this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a major online event featuring players from the U.S. and all over the world, with 85 gold bracelet events. Each day in July, a bracelet will be awarded on WSOP.com.

Before the outbreak happened, the WSOP was scheduled to run from May 26 to July 15 at the Rio Convention Center but has since been reworked to be an exclusively online event, much like other major events held this year.

Daniel Negreanu, six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, said turning WSOP into an online event to make the show go on was a classic case of the event “making the best of it.”

Negreanu, who is a Las Vegas resident, says he plans to play in the online tournament until July 19, when the GG Poker tournament, who he is an ambassador for, begins.

The buy-ins for the U.S. online WSOP range from $400 to $3,200.

Bellagio’s Supper Club Shut Down After Workers Tests Positive for COVID-19

Bellagio’s Mayfair Supper Club, which functions as a part-dining, part-entertainment venue, was one of the first live entertainment venues to reopen in the valley.

However, after one of its kitchen staff tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, it was forced to temporarily close its doors on Wednesday, with a reopening date to be determined. According to a MGM Resorts spokesperson, the employee found out about the positive coronavirus result after coming into work on Wednesday.

Prior to that, the employee’s last working day was on Sunday. Staff who were in direct contact with the employee were notified of the positive test result.

In a statement released to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Mayfair Supper Club announced that due to an abundance of caution, that they would be closing for the evening, fully sanitizing the work area, and determining who may have come into direct contact with the infected individual.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Updates its Health and Safety Protocols

On Wednesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board made updates on its health and safety protocols for casinos, tightening up previously released guidelines for gamblers who wish to sit and play. It includes stronger language in the encouragement of patrons to wear face masks while inside of casinos.

For casinos that have no plexiglass barriers at table games, gamblers are required to wear face coverings. That requirement applies to table and card players, spectators, and any other individual who is within six feet of table or card games.

As of now, patrons are not required to wear face masks while inside of the dining establishments inside of casinos.

Requirements for face masks are more stringent for casino staff, without outright mandating them for guests. Properties must now offer all guests with a face covering when they enter into the casino or have “dedicated signage” alerting patrons to the availability of the personal protective equipment (PPE) and recommended its usage.

Should any patron ask for a mask, it must be provided by a staff member.

Changes Come As People Ease Up on Mask Use

These new changes come as COVID-19 cases across the state have been on steadily increasing, and state officials recognizing the seemingly relaxed attitude toward people wearing them as the reopenings come.

Gaming Control Board Chair Sandra Douglass Morgan, for one, has noticed that people seem to be easing up on mask use, despite the growing evidence that mask usage can prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Morgan urges people to continue to act responsibly in the age of the coronavirus, especially, not in spite of, restrictions being lifted across the state. She said that if individuals want to be able to come back to Vegas in three or six months or the next year even, they need to be responsible by respecting and following the important guidelines that have been put into place for everyone’s ultimate safety.

Policies for Closed Events Have Also Been Updated

The Gaming Control Board also outlined a policy for guidelines pertaining to closed events at gaming properties on Wednesday as well. The closed events policy applies to any live event that would normally have an in-person audience, including concerts, entertainment shows, competition shows, or sporting events.

In order to be able to hold a closed event, the Event Operator is to submit an Operation Plan to the Nevada Gaming Control Board within at least 14 days leading up to the planned event date, to adequately allow the Control Board to review the Operation Plan.

The Operation Plan is to detail the specific steps the Event Operators will follow and comply with, a floor plan or diagram of the Event venue, Event personnel details, such as the number of personnel involved, the function of personnel members, details on internal systems being used for the Event, and an overview of sanitation procedures.

Event Operators are to consider all applicable Federal, state, and local social distancing guidelines, such as the capacity limits of public gatherings, and the spacing of individual personnel and Event performers per social distancing guidelines.

Current COVID-19 Trends in Nevada

Casinos were allowed to reopen in Phase 2 of Nevada’s phased reopening plan, per Gov. Steve Sisolak’s orders. The state was deemed ready to reopen based on the steady, downward trajectory trend of COVID-19 positive cases and the number of hospitalizations.

Now, the state continues to monitor the influx of coronavirus cases as casinos, restaurants, and other businesses have reopened.

Currently, the Silver State crossed 12,000 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, reporting 234 new cases as of Wednesday, marking a 2 percent single-day growth rate out of a batch of 3,767 Now, the state has 12,076 cases it reports.

It’s unsure whether the slight uptick of cases is a result of casinos reopening, the George Floyd protests that occurred throughout the Strip and Downtown LV which saw many protestors shoulder-to-shoulder, or a combination of both.

Pools at many resorts have also reopened, with many day pools being packed on the two weekends following casinos reopening.

We will have to continue to wait and see where the majority of these new cases are being reported out of.

On Governor Sisolak’s Monday address to the state, he announced that Nevada would stay in Phase 2 at least until the end of the month. He expressed disdain in the fact that many Nevadans were not wearing face coverings while out in public, and that being a major cause for concern and reason for pushing back Phase 3 of his reopening plan.

Stay Tuned

While we’re thrilled that casinos in the state and across the country (for the most part) have been given the green light to reopen amid the pandemic, we hope that the number of COVID-19 begins to decrease soon.

Have you been to Las Vegas since its reopened? Are you a local who’s been back into town since the reopenings keep trickling in? And will you be playing at one of the reopened poker rooms soon?

Recently, the Sahara Las Vegas announced its new reservation system for table games, the first-of-its-kind in the city in response to COVID-19 protocols, as well as the reopening of its poker room.

Be sure to check back for more coverage regarding Las Vegas reopening news.

Sahara LV Creates “Take a Seat” Reservation Program for Table Games

Sahara Las Vegas CasinoOn Tuesday, Sahara Las Vegas announced that they will be taking appointments for table games, in what they’re advertising as “reserve your playtime.” The new program was developed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the new safety protocols surrounding it.

In up to 72 hours in advance, players will now be able to conveniently reserve tables through this online portal. Players can reserve seats at Sahara’s Blackjack, Roulette and Bacarrat tables.

Once on property, players can check into the Infinity Lounge 15 minutes ahead of their requested time, and their reservations will be held up to 20 minutes past their requested time.

This is a convenient option for players who want to sit and play at their own table with friends or family, and the first-of-its-kind service at a casino property in Las Vegas, amid casinos in the city reopening.

Pre-social distancing rules apply to members of the same household, allowing for the maximum capacity of players at one table. Social distancing rules of those not in the same household are capped out at around three players per table, or half the full capacity.

In the same announcement, Sahara also shared that they will be reopening their poker room this Thursday, June 18. Tables will be limited to five players max per table, and players will be asked to reserve online in advance as well.

Sahara Welcomes Back Locals with Resort-Wide Specials

Sahara is known for being a hot spot for locals, especially since it transitioned back over to its iconic “Sahara” flagship name, after being the SLS for the past five years.

Now, the property is offering big deals to show more love to locals, with hopes that they’ll come back and book a stay with them very soon.

To entice locals to enjoy a “relaxing staycation escape,” they’re offering locals:

  • No resort fee
  • 10% off rooms and suites
  • Hundreds in savings with their virtual fun book, including half-off cabanas and daybeds, free Starbucks™ coffee and more
  • Ability to change or cancel reservations within a 24-hour window, without penalty fees
  • Free parking always
  • 50 percent off dining at the property

In order for locals to receive the deals, they must book stay by September 3, 2020. Book your staying by clicking here.

Stay Tuned

Locals, will you be taking advantage of the specials Sahara Las Vegas is currently offering?

And what do you think of the new reservation program for table games? It will be interesting to see if other casinos follow suit.

Be sure to check back for more updates regarding casino news in Las Vegas.

Boring Company Loop to Connect to McCarran Airport and Downtown LV

Airplane Flying into McCarran Airport in Las VegasElon Musk’s Boring Company Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) loop is expected to break ground in January 2021.

The Loop, which will likely be known as the “Vegas Loop”, is an underground loop that will heavily reduce cross-campus walk time, and gridlock street traffic from convention center-goers on their commute to-and-from the Center.

It’s estimated that a series of Tesla vehicles will be able to transport over 4,000 people through the tunnels within an hour, reducing normal cross-campus walk times of 15 minutes down to two minutes, according to local officials.

Right now, two tunnels in the extensive underground system have been recently completed as of May 14, and they are located from one end of the Convention Center to the other. The long-term goal is that the Loop will be able to have connected stops at every major casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

Loop’s Expansion Project Aims to Connect Travelers from Downtown LV to McCarran Airport

Eventually, the LVCC loop’s expansion project aims to transport travelers all the way from Downtown Las Vegas, at a stop at the Fremont Street Experience, to McCarran Airport.

The near 9-mile journey would be completely underground, utilizing Tesla’s vehicles to move passengers from both stops.

Hopefully, there would be stops all along the journey, stopping at all major resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

Loop Could Link to All Major Strip Properties in the Future

As of right now two major resorts, Wynn Resorts and Resorts World, have already applied for approval to be included in the LVCC loop. It’s predicted that Wynn Resorts and Resorts World, being that they are on the north end of the Strip closer, to the Convention Center, will be granted approval easier first.

Resorts located on the south end of the Strip, such as Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and The Luxor, are deemed to be included in future plans for the loop but are not approved as of now.

Aims to Connect to Allegiant Stadium by 2021

The LVCC loop also plans to possibly include Allegiant Stadium as one of its stops in the future.

The stadium, which is set to be completed at the end of this July, could possibly be linked into the loop by next year.

It seems like this sophisticated underground system will also be a robust one, seeing as how it plans to include major casino-resorts, downtown Las Vegas, and entertainment hubs.

The Underground Tunnel Could Extend to Southern California

According to plans listed on the official lvloop.com site, the underground tunnel could be making its way into Southern California eventually.

Should the tunnel run under Interstate 15 South on its route to SoCal, it would make the trip approximately 268.9 miles.

About Boring Company

Boring Company’s mission is to alleviate above-ground congestion in cities by providing underground tunnel transportation.

Their tunnels are fast to dig, lost-cost solutions that make them the viable transit option across densely populated regions.

For example, a hyperloop tunnel by Boring Company slashes travel time from New York to Washington by more than half, taking only 30 minutes, while relieving congestion on the streets.

Two Casinos Want in on Boring Company’s Tube System

Las Vegas Convention CenterElon Musk’s innovative Boring Company is developing an underground “people mover” loop system in Las Vegas that’s set to be finished by next January. It will be used to move more than 4,000 people through the tunnels, allowing them to go from venue to venue in a fraction of the walking or driving time.

The idea behind it was to relieve congested convention traffic and provide Las Vegas visitors with a more convenient way to travel between the Convention Center and different resorts.

The $52.5 million-project recently completed its first phase in May, which involved digging a second tunnel underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, the hub of where the system will live. The first tunnel was dug in February.

The next phase of the first-of-its-kind project will involve completing the above-ground passenger stations on both sides of the tunnel. The loop system is formerly being called the “Convention Center Loop,” and hopes to break ground in time for next year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

It will be Boring Company’s first commercial transportation project. A variety of Tesla vehicles will move people through the tunnels in a matter of minutes, versus them making a cross-campus walk that would take around 15 minutes.

The Loop is mainly meant to serve convention-goers and be a benefit for trade shows, rather than stand as a public transportation system, and it will be a free service.

Wynn Resorts and Resorts World Want in On the Loop System

Both Wynn Resorts and Resorts World, which is still under development, are seeking county approval to get linked up to the Convention Center Loop.

Wynn Resorts and Encore are the closest resorts to the Convention Center, so getting approval to get connected to the station would be ideal. If approved, travelers could get from the Convention Center to Wynn Resorts and Resorts World in just a couple of minutes.

According to Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas, getting linked would remove Convention guests’ worries or making the long walk back to their resort or getting stuck in gridlock traffic.

The transportation system would allow them to easily leave the Convention Center for lunch, meetings, appointments, or sightseeing, and get them back quickly. It’s a win-win on both ends.

Loop Could Possibly Even Link to Allegiant Stadium Next Year, Too

Allegiant Stadium, which is set to be completed by the end of July 2020, could also possibly link to the Loop next year.

According to Steve Hill, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO, the Convention Center and the $2 billion-dollar stadium could be linked as early as the start of the 2021 NFL season.

This would make a be a convenient solution for stadium-goers to make it to and from the stadium, since the stadium is located on the very south end of the Strip, past Mandalay Bay.

There is no estimate on how much it would cost to link the two properties, but passengers riding between these two locations would be charged a fee.

Gold Spike, Corduroy, and More Reopen in Downtown LV

Gold Spike Las VegasDowntown is expanding its available entertainment options. On Wednesday, Gold Spike, downtown’s adult playground, Corduroy, a popular bar known for its music selection, Smashed Pig, a gastropub, and Oak & Ivy, a cocktail bar, reopened.

Gold Spike’s ‘Backyard’ playground is welcoming back groups of no more than five or less per table, serving customers on a first-come, first-served basis with no required minimum. The new hours of operations are from Wednesday through Sunday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Smashed Pig will be offering dine-in service, featuring their full food and cocktail menu. Reservations are encouraged. Their new hours of operation are Wednesday through Thursday, from 3-9 p.m., Friday, from 3-11 p.m., Saturday, from 10 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Corduroy bar will be allowing groups of up to five people, to adhere to social distancing guidelines as provided by the CDC. Their new hours of operations as of now, in a similar trend to the other reopened businesses, are from Wednesday through Sunday, 5-11 p.m.

And Oak & Ivy, which is nicknamed downtown’s “Container Park’s bar in a box,” is encouraging guests to make reservations through OpenTable before coming down. Their updated hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday, from noon-8 p.m, and Friday through Saturday, from noon-9 p.m.

Downtown is Slowly but Surely Reopening

The four new downtown re-openings join a list of other downtown properties and the Fremont Experience which reopened last Thursday, June 4.

Ahead of reopening, the D Hotel & Casino’s parking garage was full of guests waiting to get back into the casino to gamble. Only hotel guests were allowed to reenter ahead of the midnight opening.

D Hotel & Casino’s owner, Derek Stevens, led a New Year’s Eve-style countdown to midnight, and the crowd was all for it. And it’s no wonder the pent-up demand was high, with casinos being closed a total of 78 days in the state.

Some things that looked different inside of downtown casinos right now are employees wearing masks, entrants having to undergo a temperature check when coming into the property, and plexiglass barriers on the casino floor. The Gold Nugget, on the other hand, is only taking hotel guests’ temperature at check-in.

It seemed that outside of questions about safety protocols, the most asked questions were if football was coming to come back or not in the sportsbooks.

Overall, it seems the energy downtown is full of excitement and forward-focused on what’s to come.

More Free Parking Options Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas has been doing a few things to encourage tourists and locals back to its streets.

For one, D Hotel & Casino’s owner Stevens gave away 2,000 free one-way flights to Las Vegas in the week leading up to its reopening. It’s no surprise that the flights sold out by the afternoon.

When Nevada entered into Phase 1 of reopening, which allowed for the reopening of dine-in restaurants without operating bars, many staple downtown restaurants started offering sidewalk dining to accommodate guests and make them feel more comfortable in returning.

Now, the city of Las Vegas is taking it a step further by providing new parking amenities alongside the safe reopening of its businesses and casinos.

Beginning June 8, additional convenient parking options have been introduced for those visiting downtown restaurants, attractions, and other businesses.

In partnership with the Downtown Project (DTP), parking is now free for the month of June at downtown LV’s Llama Lot, which is located at 152 N. Ninth St.

Discount for All-Day Parking

Additionally, all-day parking is now 50 percent off at many downtown lots and parking garages if reserved in advance through the ParkWhiz app.

In addition to the discounted and free parking, the city of Las Vegas has also introduced new technology giving patrons touch-free options in their garage transactions, including QR code scanning, using Apple or Google Pay, or waving hands in front of garage sensors instead of physically touching kiosks.

Downtown’s Reopening Came on the Heels of George Floyd Protests

A week before downtown reopened its casinos and retail businesses, it was overrun by protests honoring George Floyd. Downtown became the epicenter of the protests in Las Vegas.

It put businesses in a tough position of whether or not to postpone their re-openings.

Some popular bars in Fremont East district, including the highly-anticipated reopening of Commonwealth, made the decision to postpone their Thursday, June 4 opening after suffering some damage from the riots last Monday night.

But, despite the concerns of the violence, many downtown businesses were in solidarity and support of the protests.

Despite Public Concerns, People Showed Up for Downtown’s Reopening

While the coronavirus pandemic is still active, and protests and riots are still occurring, it didn’t stop people from returning to downtown Las Vegas and the city of Las Vegas to get back into the action.

Trends over how Las Vegas fares over the next few weeks with being reopened will be important in other casino operators deciding to reopen their properties to the public as well. Las Vegas is taking a smart, measure approach to its reopening, reintroducing properties a little at a time to gauge public impact and demand.

So far, so good. There have been no big jumps in daily COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations, and with airfare to Las Vegas being reduced and hotel rates being on the low-end, it’s predicted that Vegas will see many more visitors by the end of June and through July.

We hope that’s the case, as it’ll help springboard Nevada’s economy back into recovery after COVID-19 shuddered the state’s industry workforce.

Because of the coronavirus shutdown, and it being a city built on tourism and gaming, Nevada has topped lists for the highest unemployment percentage in the country for the month of April. Thankfully, with casinos reopening, many casino employees are getting their livelihoods back into full swing.

The “New Normal” for Vegas for A While

Vegas has reopened to a “new normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, the new Vegas experience was highlighted in the city’s latest tourism ad that’s describing the new reality as a more “intimate” Las Vegas experience.

So if you’re returning to Las Vegas or you’re new to visiting the city as a whole, what will look different? Well, with social distancing guidelines being considered and implemented all throughout the valley, that will mean a less-crowded Vegas.

Normally, downtown Las Vegas, especially the Fremont Street Experience, is overrun with crowds and people from all walks of life. But now, with confidence in air travel wary, the crowds will likely be a mix of locals and domestic guests, especially visitors from Southern California who are able to simply drive into town to experience the fun.

Many casino properties are only operating at reduced capacity as well, meaning guests will have more space to take in the sights or experience amenities without, hopefully, having to fight to get a reservation in.

Guests can also expect to see casino employees wearing facial masks, and floors riddled with social distancing guideline markers.

Stay Tuned

The 4th of July holiday weekend in Las Vegas this year will be an interesting one to watch. It’s hard to predict how busy it might or might not get, but as things are looking right now, you can probably bet that more people will be heading to town during that time.

In fact, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, the Strip’s two largest casino operators, are planning to open up more resorts in time for the holiday weekend, including Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Aria.

Are you excited that more businesses and casino-hotels are reopening across downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip? Will you be coming into town to visit soon? Share with us below, and be sure to check back for more coverage regarding Las Vegas’ reopening.

Aria, Linq, Luxor, Mandalay Bay to Reopen in Vegas Next

Mandalay Bay & Luxor in Las VegasLas Vegas has been off to a swell start with its reopening of casinos that came on June 4. Not all casinos reopened at once, but slowly and surely, the city is beginning to open back up its famed resorts.

On Tuesday, MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp, who opened up only a handful of their properties to start, announced that they will be expanding their list of available hotel-casinos in Las Vegas.

Currently, the MGM properties that are open to the public include the Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand, and its MGM Grand Signature properties. Of Caesars Entertainment, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, and Harrah’s are currently open.

Both MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment are the Strip’s largest casino operators. So what do these two operators plan on bringing back to life next?

MGM to Reopen Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons, and Aria Next

In a news release, MGM Resorts International revealed that they will be opening up three more resorts before Independence Day.

First up will be the pyramid-shaped resort, Luxor, alongside The Shoppes at Mandalay Bay Place on June 25. The shopping esplanade runs between Luxor and Mandalay, so it’s only proper that the two open alongside each other.

The resort and The Shoppes will open up at 10 a.m. on June 25.

On July 1, at 11 a.m., MGM then plans to reopen its Four Seasons and Aria properties, just in time for the 4th of July weekend.

The three properties and shopping esplanade will open limited dining options, but it’s not clear what those dining options are just yet.

All three casinos do however plan to open up their pools with the initial reopening.

What’s left to reopen for MGM Resorts after July 1 will be Park MGM, NoMad, the non-gaming Vdara, and the Mirage.

Caesars Entertainment to Reopen Aria Next

Caesars announced they will be opening up the gaming floor at The Linq Hotel this Friday, June 12. The Linq Hotel and parking garage will remain closed initially.

The Linq Promenade reopened last Thursday, as well as The High Roller Observation Wheel.

Within the promenade, the following restaurants and dining options reopened: Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar, Flour & Barley Brick Oven Pizza, Haute Doggery, In-N-Out Burger, Maxie’s, Off The Strip, Tilted Kilt, Yard House, Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips, Jaburritos, and Virgil’s Real Barbecue.

As far as beverage options, Breeze Daiquiri and Ice Bar are now serving drinks. The promenade’s retail candy shop, I Love Sugar, also reopened.

What’s left for Caesars to reopen is Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Paris Las Vegas, The Cromwell and the off-Strip Rio.

June 4 Reopening Day Excitement and Success

The energy on June 4 was palpable. After a near-three-month shutdown, the pent-up demand for guests to return to casinos once again and start playing was high.

Caesars CEO Tony Rodio was on-site on opening day with Vegas icon Wayne Newton, and said it was a pleasure to welcome back staff members and guests to some of Caesar’s Las Vegas properties and across the country.

“We are encouraged by customer interest and visits, strong demand, and the implementation, so far, of our enhanced health and safety protocols,” Rodio said.

MGM Resorts acting CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, was also waiting to greet guests at the Bellagio’s lobby, alongside other company executives.

Hornbuckle said it was exciting and emotional to see the kind of energy that was present the week prior when the company welcomed back employees and reopened its doors for the first time in months.

“Our guests are having a great time and are thrilled to be back in the city they love. We are eager to get more of our employees back to work and enhance the Las Vegas experience with additional resorts,” Hornbuckle said.

‘Strong Opening Weekend’

MGM Resorts executives described the opening weekend as ‘strong’ and used the opening weekend as a measure to gauge customer’s demand.

Since it was a successful weekend, the company is moving forward with its plans to reopen the aforementioned properties in the coming weeks, and we think guests will be excited to have more MGM properties to visit and choose from in their Vegas stay.

Stay Tuned

We’re thrilled to see that Las Vegas opening back up again, one property at a time.

It was sorely missed during the long shutdown period and we hope that it will return to its formal glory in no time.

Which of the properties that are reopening in the coming weeks are you most excited about returning to or visiting? We’d love to know! Share your thoughts with us below and be sure to check back for more Las Vegas reopening coverage.

3 Live Shows You Can Watch in Las Vegas This Week

Dueling Piano BarThis is the first full week of Las Vegas being reopened, since the shutdown order was officially lifted last Thursday, June 4. While casinos across the state were given the green light to reopen, not every Vegas casino chose to reopen right away.

Instead, the casinos that are still closed are testing the waters, seeing how the city fares during its reopening before joining the rest of the pack. And not every amenity of the casinos that have reopened, for example, The Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and Treasure Island to name a few, are available to the public just yet either.

Many of those unopened amenities include dining and beverage options, like restaurants and bars, hotel gym rooms, and live entertainment.

Casinos have been waiting for the word from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to bring back live bands in their lounges and bars and many of their famed live entertainment shows.

However, the motto has been “the show must go on” for these three live Vegas shows which have reopened their doors to the public. If you’re in town, here are three live shows you can catch in Las Vegas this week!

Mayfair and the Petrossian Bar at Bellagio

It seems like the Bellagio is fully leading the way in entertainment in Las Vegas’ reopening.

The Mayfair Supper Club, which overlooks the Bellagio Fountain show, reopened alongside the hotel on June 4, as well as Petrossian Bar & Lounge. Mayfair is a stage show that’s equal parts dining and entertainment venue.

Although it’s pared down from its full production, absent of show dancers, the co-star singers LaShonda Reese and Steve Judkins are back and showing off their pipes once more along with bandleader J.F. Thibeault and his entertaining ensemble.

Petrossian Bar & Lounge is an upscale piano bar-lounge that offers afternoon English tea service, champagne, caviar, and rotating pianists for live music entertainment.

Big Elvis at Harrah’s Piano Bar

The Harrah’s was the third Caesars Entertainment property to reopen on June 5, after Caesars Palace and Flamingo reopened a day earlier on June 4.

That means Big Elvis, performed by Pete Vallee, at Harrah’s Piano Bar is back. He’s one of the Strip’s longest performing lounge acts, and a crowd-favorite for sure. Big Elvis, if you couldn’t tell by the name, performed the King’s greatest hits three days a week at Harrah’s Piano Bar.

Recently, he’s been sharing the stage with dueling piano twins Kim and Tamara Pinegar, DJ Rusty’s karaoke, and the Saxman Duo. But since Big Elvis is a one-man singing show, it seems likely that he’ll be approved to perform in Phase 2 of Nevada’s reopening.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Big Elvis to return to Harrah’s Piano Bar stage this Friday, performing at 2, 3 and 5 p.m.

Piazza Lounge and Copa Room at Tuscany

It seems like piano bars are leading the back in safely bringing live entertainment back to the Entertainment Capital. The Tuscany, which is just east of the Las Vegas Strip, also made its triumphant return with it Kenny Davidsen’s Celebrity Piano Bar inside of Piazza Lounge.

Davidsen’s show is a mainstay in Vegas entertainment. It’s been going on for the past seven years and has been an incredible feature for guest singers over the years. The show starts at 8:45 p.m. on Friday nights.

The Copa Room inside of Tuscany has also been reactivated, with two shows in the books from Smashing Alice, a rock cover band, and its entertainment calendar is already starting to take shape again.

Dreamland Drive-In on West Diablo Drive

For this weekend’s encore performance that will be a completely new and unique Vegas experience, check out the Drive-In Drag Show on West Diablo Drive.

The Drive-In Drag Show, hosted by Edie from Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity, is a live-singing musical experience that guests can enjoy from the comfort of their cars.

It sold out on its first weekend, so don’t sleep on getting your tickets to this one-of-a-kind show. Performances are on June 11, 12, and 13 at 8 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit driveindragshow.com.

Stay Tuned

After nearly three months of Las Vegas shutting down, we’re so glad to see casinos and forms of live entertainment opening back up again.

We know this is exactly what the public needs to escape the reality of our current times.

Will you be checking out any of these live shows this weekend in Vegas? Share with us below! And be sure to check back for more news on Las Vegas reopening.

Gambler Hits Jackpot at Recently Reopened Red Rock Casino in LV

Red Rock CasinoRed Rock Casino, along with a select group of other Las Vegas Casinos, reopened but four days ago after a long after a near-three month shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The pent-up demand for gamblers to return for Red Rock’s reopening day was high, and it was evident in the line of hundreds who were waiting outside of the casinos before they swung their doors back open at midnight to welcome in the eager crowd.

Cheers could be heard and the staff was on-hand to greet guests at the entrance. At 12:01 a.m., it was already a lively scene in the casino that was empty just one week prior. The crowd was mostly filled with locals who were ready to get their play in at their favorite casino again after a long quarantine period.

But the best part? No sooner than they reopened did gamblers start earning big again! Some locals even took home a few hundred in winnings their first day back, and now, only four days later, a gambler has already hit the jackpot.

Panda Slot Machine Spells Out 10K Jackpot

One lucky gambler’s modest 88-cent bet turned into a near 10 grand fortune on a panda slot machine. The gambler won $9,092 to be exact. Ah, now this is just the kind of good news Vegas needed to see again!

Stay Tuned

Vegas is finally getting its feet wet after the dry spell that coronavirus caused back in mid-March, but it’s already off to a great start.

Not all of the city’s casinos have reopened, but enough to welcome back guests and provide them with the new “intimate” Vegas experience amid reopening during the pandemic.

Does this good news have you wanting to head down to the casino tonight? Who knows, you could be one of the lucky ones!

Detroit’s Casino Reopening Plans Include Smoking, Poker, and Buffet Bans

MGM Grand DetroitWhen Detroit’s three casinos finally reopen, it’s going to come alongside some big changes.

On Monday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board approved reopening guidelines that will require visitors to wear face masks, undergo a temperature check upon entering, and not smoke, play poker, or eat at the buffet.

Detroit casinos, per the guidelines, will also be limited to 15 percent maximum capacity initially.

Currently, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has yet to lift the coronavirus shutdown order that was put into place nearly three months ago, on March 16.

While casinos don’t have a definitive start date just yet, tribal casinos in the state have already reopened to the public.

Casinos in Las Vegas finally reopened last Thursday, but with Michigan’s heightened number of coronavirus cases and deaths as compared to Nevada and other states that have reopened, they’re taking the right precautions to make sure the state is in good condition to reopen casinos safely.

According to gaming board Executive Director Richard Kalm, CDC recommendations, Nevada Gaming Board guidelines, and data from the National Indian Gaming Commission was carefully considered in crafting the reopening guidelines.

Reopening Guidelines for MGM Grand, MotorCity and Greektown Casinos

The COVID-19 safety guidelines for commercial casinos in Detroit’s three casinos, MGM Grand, MotorCity, and Greektown, were developed in considering the initial reopening. It’s unsure yet how long these particular measures will be in effect, but let’s take a look into the specific protocols below.

Guest and Employee Casino Entry

Entry points into all three casinos will be reduced, with signage visibly seen upon entering reminding guests of the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing, proper handwashing, how to wear facial masks and to stay home if feeling sick.

A non-contact thermometer or thermal scanner device will record the internal temperature of every entrant, making sure that they are not above the temperature danger zone of 100.4 degrees. Anyone who exceeds the appropriate temperature will be denied access and directed otherwise.

Guests must be wearing a face mask that covers their nose and mouth in order to gain access into the casino. For patrons who need to be identified by security or other staff members, they may be asked to lower their masks to confirm identity.

Casino personnel stationed at entry points will receive additional training in how to properly identify guests who may be exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and incident protocols.

Occupancy will be monitored and enforced to ensure that the maximum limit of 15 percent isn’t gone over.

COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

Each of Detroit’s three casinos must be in compliance with local, state, and federal COVID-19 health requirements. Recommendations are also to be strongly considered and implemented.

Employees are to receive thorough COVID-19 training, discussing symptom identification, incident protocols, and proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment.

All employees will also be required to undergo a temperature check at the start of every shift to ensure their internal temperature is below 100.4 degrees.

Signage with CDC reminders will be placed throughout back-of-house areas to remind staff on how to conduct themselves to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

All publically-available items throughout the casinos which are regularly touched and used will be sanitized frequently. Those items include ATM machines, counters, door handles, elevator panels and buttons, restrooms, chairs, light switches, phones, kiosks, clocks, etc.

As often as available, disinfectant wipes will be placed throughout the casino to allow guests to disinfect surfaces after using them.

Enhanced cleaning protocols will be implemented throughout the front-of-house and back-of-house areas.

Slot Machines

All casinos are to schedule frequent cleanings of slot machines. To the extent available, disinfectant wipes should be made available near slot machines so players can use them to wipe down machines before use.

Casinos are to support the CDC’s social distancing guidelines by either installing plexiglass barriers between machines, removing every other chair from certain machines, or disabling certain slot machines altogether.

Table Games

In the casinos’ initial reopening, poker rooms will not be available.

All table games will be limited to three players each, with midi-baccarat games being limited to four players each, and craps games limited to six players each.

All dealers are to wear face masks or face shields when dealing with players.

Playing cards are to be replaced at the start of every shift, with casinos developing their own plans for having chips cleaned and sanitized daily.

For every new shooter, dice must be disinfected.

Those who are not playing at the table are not to congregate table games or stand behind players.

Queuing Areas

Queuing areas throughout the casino floors but be marked with floor markers to identify proper social distancing placement when in lines or other areas.

Elevator areas are to include signage requirement that no more than four people are to use an elevator at once.

Food and Beverage Service

Casino employees are to wear face masks throughout their shift and be conscious of practicing social distancing with every guest interaction, as feasibly possible, such as in the dispensation of food and drinks.

Prohibited Activities

The following activities are prohibited in the initial reopening of the casinos: Poker rooms, smoking on the casino floor, concerts, nightclubs, and all other forms of live entertainment, valet services, coat check, buffets, self-serve soda and coffee stations.

Sportsbook

Sportsbooks are to be rearranged to support social distancing among bettors. Floor marking at to be utilized in designated line areas, high-touch surfaces like tables, seats, and kiosks, must be frequently cleaned and sanitized, and ticket writers are to either wear face masks/shields and gloves or have a plexiglass barrier installed between them and sports bettors

Current COVID-19 Trends in Michigan

As of Monday, the state has reported 64,701 known cases of COVID-19 and 5,912 related deaths.

The new daily cases of COVID-19 continue to fall throughout the state, averaging 193 new daily cases currently, compared with the average of 283 daily cases over the previous five-day period.

Daily death trend is also falling, with an average of 21 deaths over the last five days, as compared with 33 days over the previous five-day stretch.

Stay Tuned

With Detroit casinos gearing up to reopen in the near future, it’s good to see that they’ve publically released their reopening safety protocols to instill some confidence in guests anxious to return.

What do you think of the restrictions? Will you be going to visit one of Detroit’s three casinos once they reopen?

Let us know in the comments below!

Atmosphere at Red Rock Casino’s Reopening Was ‘So Lively’

Red Rock Canyon Casino in Las VegasRed Rock Casino reopened at midnight on Thursday, June 4, to hundreds of eager guests who were ready to get back into the familiar scene of playing slots, putting back drinks, and having a good time.

At 12:01, the atmosphere was already so lively, it almost had a “first-day-back-at-school” feeling, and it’s no wonder why. Staff was on hand to warmly welcome guests back, including Scott Nelson, the general manager of Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.

The crowd, which was made up of a majority of locals, with some drive-in guests, has had major casino fever since Las Vegas was effectively shut down due to the coronavirus in early March. It was clear the demand was pent up by the number of people who lined up outside of the casino ahead of the doors opening.

Red Rock made it into Station Casinos first phase of reopening, alongside five other properties. The remaining four, The Palms, Texas Station, Fiesta Henderson, and Fiesta Rancho, will reopen at a later date.

You could hear the roar of players and bystanders at the craps table throughout the casino floor, the buzz of people toasting at Lucky Bar, and guests getting the famous midnight-oil steak and eggs at the 24-hour coffee shop, which is available at all Station Casinos properties.

“Nothing feels better than our guests and team members returning to our property,” said Joe Yalda, Red Rock’s vice president of guest experience.

What Looks Different at Red Rock?

For one, all staff members are required to wear masks. All guests and team members will also have their temperature taken by a non-invasive thermal scanner upon entering the building. To prevent guests from touching doors, the staff is also on hand to open doors for people coming in.

The casino floor has also been rearranged to support social distancing, with table games having maximum occupancy and rows of slot machines going from five chairs to three. Throughout all Station Casinos, electrostatic sprayers that contain hospital-grade disinfectants will be used to clean high-touch hard surface areas on the property. Several hands-free hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed strategically throughout the property as well.

Staff will also receive thorough health and cleanliness standard training to remain compliant with standards set by federal, state, and local authorities.

Local Were Ecstatic to Return

Red Rock sees a large percentage of local residents, so it’s no wonder that locals were among the largest percentage of those returning on reopening day.

For local residents Shanon and Terrace Diaz, for one, they couldn’t be happier that the shutdown has finally been lifted.

“We’ve been waiting, we wanted to be here right when it opens. It’s a good thing,” said Terrace Diaz.

Shannon Diaz added that she has just been wanting to feel the “real Vegas” again.

Shawn Berry, another local, was at the front of the line of those waiting to get in before the clock struck midnight. Berry said he could care less about the changes, and that he just was ready to gamble again.

That was a similar sentiment among those who showed up on the reopening day. And on day one of reopening, people were already winning, too.

Stay Tuned

Even with all the new changes at Red Rock, guests and staff members are picking up right where they left off and they couldn’t be happier about it.

Are you happy that Las Vegas has finally reopened? Will you be making it down to one of the casinos soon? We hope to see you!

Be sure to check back for more Las Vegas reopening news.

MGM Resorts Plan to Reopen Excalibur and Aria on the Strip Next

Aria Resort in Las VegasThe Las Vegas Strip has finally reopened after being shut down for over two months due to the coronavirus.

With the reopening came the strategic reopening planning by casino companies, such as MGM Resorts International. To start, they’ve opened up three of their 10 Strip properties: The Bellagio, MGM Grand, and New York-New York. It’s also opened up its MGM Signature hotel.

The company chose those two specific properties because it offers flexibility in different traveler’s budgets.

When Bellagio reopened its doors at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 4, crowds of visitors cheered as they made their way through the doors. They were also greeted by Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO of MGM Resorts, and other company executives who were anxiously awaiting the arrival of guests in the resort lobby.

The Bellagio Fountains also made their debut, after being shut off since March 17. It was one of the most exciting reopening scenes on the Las Vegas Strip, especially after COVID-19 turned it into something of a ghosttown for the first time in its history.

“It’s been amazing. I can remember the day this property opened … it felt the same (today),” Hornbuckle said.

The property originally opened back in 1998, so it’s incredible that the reopening feeling was on the same wavelength. While the excitement was similar, guests definitely walked into some key changes amid the property reopening during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Those “new standards,” as Hornbuckle refers to them, include thermal checks at the property’s entrance, employees decked out in face masks, the casino floor rearranged for social distancing, social distancing signage, hand-santizing stations and more.

MGM Resorts was thrilled to welcome back its staff members and guests, despite the new restrictions. Hornbuckle said the reopening experience has been emotional for everyone and that the company went through a lot during the COVID-19 shut down, like the furloughing of almost 63,000 workers.

Now, the company has its sights set on the next phase of reopenings.

Excalibur and Aria to Open Next

According to a hotel spokesman, MGM Resorts is preparing to reopen Excalibur on June 11. It comes at a good timing, as the hotel will be celebrating its 30th year anniversary one week later on June 19.

The goal for MGM is to have the area of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue covered on the Strip with its reopened properties.

The company says it’ll take a breather after reopening Excalibur, then plan to reopen Aria in City Center in time for the 4th of July weekend.

Excalibur’s entertainment sector, including popular Vegas shows like Thunder From Down Under and Australian Bee Gees, plan to return July 1st with tickets now on sale for that date.

Excalibur and Aria will reopen under the same model as Bellagio and New York-New York: Reduced capacity, select dining and bar options, and under stringent safety protocols.

“But again, it’s one step at a time,” Hornbuckle explained. “We’re going to be patient; it is about doing this correctly and doing it safely first and foremost.”

Large Demand from Southern California Visitors

At Bellagio’s reopening on Thursday, the crowd was a mix of locals, drive-in and fly-in guests. This was a good sign, as Las Vegas is leveraging more tourists with cheaper airfare and reduced room rates.

According to Hornbuckle however, the resort is seeing its largest demand from Southern California visitors who are driving in.

The drive-in traffic is a promising pattern, as Southern California guests make up a lot of business on the Strip, and because it’s easiest for these types of residents to enter into Las Vegas versus others who have to fly in.

Hornbuckle explained that the pent-up demand for guests to get back into play has been high, and he estimates that the next few weekends of June will see a good amount of volume because of that fact.

But while initial demand has been good, Hornbuckle doesn’t expect things to go back to normal right away. In fact, he says the tourism industry in the city has “a long way to go,” especially with the dependence on outside factors like airline industry success and the confidence of the public to return.

New Mobile Check-In, New Norm

With many of MGM’s properties having upwards of 4,000 rooms, mobile check-in is the new tool that’s been introduced to help guests avoid more lines, making the check-in process more seamless while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Guests can use QR codes and their mobile devices to check into their hotel room, without ever having to check-in with a live agent.

Which Bars and Restaurants Reopened on June 4?

The reopening of its three casinos also meant the reopening of many big-name restaurants and bars for MGM Resorts.

At Bellagio, Prime Steakhouse from Jean George Vongerichten and Lago by Julian Serrano has reopened for dinner nightly. The popular Mayfair Supper Club also plans to open on Wednesdays through Sunday.

Noodles, Palio, Gelato, and Snacks have also reopened at Bellagio. For bar options, Petrossian Bar, Baccarat Bar & Lounge, and the pool bar are now available.

At MGM Grand, Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Crush, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, and Avenue Café have reopened for dine-in service. Small restaurant options include Pieology and the walk-up Pool Café window.

For drink outlets, the Pool Bar, 32 Degrees, the Lobby Bar, the Casino Bar, and Starbucks are now open.

At the Signature at MGM Grand, Delights and Starbucks have reopened.

At New York-New York, Tom’s Urban, Gallagher’s Steakhouse, America, Chin Chin, Il Fornaio, NY Pizzeria, Nathan’s Famous, Haagen Dazs, and the food court all plan to reopen soon, with some dining options available now.

For beverage, Starbucks on the casino floor, Center Bar, NFL Bar, and the Pool Bar have reopened.

Stay Tuned

While coming to Vegas is a bet right now, as it always has been in other ways, resorts are doing their absolute due diligence to ensure guests are safe once they walk into their doors.

It’s comforting to know how hard they’ve been working to be able to provide fun and entertainment to Las Vegas visitors against, despite all of the concerns in the world right now.

Will you be returning to Las Vegas soon? Which one of MGM Resorts properties would you prefer to stay at?

Share with us below! Be sure to check back for more news regarding the exciting reopening of Las Vegas.

LV is Back in Business with Reduced Hotel Rates and Airfare

McCarran Airport in Las VegasThe time has finally come. The coronavirus casino closures have been lifted and the city of Las Vegas can shine once more. This time, it seems, they have several new strategies in place to bring business back to the famed tourist destination.

For the first time in almost three months, slot machines are rolling and dice are being thrown across tables again, sanitized dice that is.

The first gamblers and tourists back on the scene for reopening day are taking in the specific scenes of the Bellagio fountains relaunching after being dried up since March 16, filled downtown casinos, socially distanced-arranged casino floors, CEO’s greeting them in the lobby and more.

With airfare and hotel rates being strategically cheaper than normal, the city hopes to welcome in more even more guests with its reopening.

Last month, Frontier Airlines CEO, Barry Biffle, partnered up with Las Vegas resort and travel partners in an effort to come up with the best strategy to get people on flights back to Sin City, while ramping its flight safety protocols.

One downtown Las Vegas casino owner even did more than his fair share in getting people to return to the nation’s Entertainment Capital last week with an enticing flight giveaway.

Downtown Casino Owner Leads Charge with Free-Flight Giveaway

Derek Stevens, co-owner of the D Hotel and Golden Gate casinos in downtown Las Vegas, capitalized on the initial excitement for guests to return when he offered 1,000 free one-way flights to Vegas from 24 cities across the country.

He announced the flights last Wednesday, ahead of the June 4 reopening, and flights sold out in under two hours, with 1,000 more flights being added that afternoon. Before the end of the business day, all flights were taken up and none more were added after that.

Stevens called his plan “Keep America Flying,” and says it’s a part of a greater initiative to keep people traveling throughout the skies by offering one free trip at a time. Stevens also explained that this is Vegas’ way of being respectful of the fly-in market.

“The drive-in market is very important, but with what’s happened to the airlines, that industry has really been decimated. We wanted to come up with something that helps the U.S. airline industry, and helps support Las Vegas,” Stevens said.

Flights to Las Vegas

If you’ve been having an itch to get to Las Vegas recently, now might be the best time to do.

Flights into the Entertainment Capital are significantly cheaper from several big cities on budget airlines. For example, if you are in Oakland and wanted to come to Las Vegas next week, it would be less than $100 roundtrip with Allegiant Airlines.

Flying in from San Francisco is currently under $200 roundtrip.

Mid-July is showing even cheaper rates at half the cost from those cities right now, and United Airlines and Alaska Air have fares as low as $115 from the Bay Area for their basic economy flights.

And it’s not just nearby cities that are having cheap travel deals to Las Vegas.

If you are in New York City and wanted to get to Las Vegas next week, prices are showing as cheap as under $200 as well for a roundtrip flight, with flights going as low as $97 roundtrip every weekend in July.

These rates are a third of what they normally go for, so now might really be the prime time if you were trying to get to Las Vegas on a budget.

Reduced Hotel Fares in Las Vegas

Now only is it cheap to fly into Las Vegas right now, but hotel rates are significantly cheaper as well, at a lot of the luxury resorts, too.

Here’s some insight into what some of the rates at the casino-hotels (that have opened up) in Las Vegas are looking like today, if you were to book a one-night stay today for Friday, June 5:

The Bellagio: $196

Flamingo: $88

New York-New York: $97

Caesars Palace: $121

MGM Grand: $99

Signature at MGM Grand: $89

The Venetian: $152

The Palazzo: $152

Treasure Island: $74

Wynn Las Vegas: $186

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas: $135

Sahara Las Vegas: $101

Red Rock: $128

The STRAT: $54

Harrah’s Las Vegas: $74

The Orleans Hotel & Casino: $64

Palace Station: $60

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino: $67

Now, let’s compare those rates to a weekday rate for next week and you’ll notice an even more significant price drop. Here’s what rates are going for next Tuesday, June 9, at those same properties:

The Bellagio: $137

Flamingo: $22

New York-New York: $27

Caesars Palace: $68

MGM Grand: $34

Signature at MGM Grand: $48

The Venetian: $127

The Palazzo: $152

Treasure Island: $45

Wynn Las Vegas: $118

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas: $118

Sahara Las Vegas: $48

Red Rock: $76

The STRAT: $13

Harrah’s Las Vegas: $18

The Orleans Hotel & Casino: $25

Palace Station: $33

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino: $30

As you can see, the city is making it a lot easier financially for people across the country to have a Vegas vacation again. Of course, with the city reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, things are going to look a bit different for a while. Vegas is calling it its “New Normal.”

The “New Normal” for Las Vegas for Awhile

Casino employees with masks on, thermal temperature scanners at casino entrances, spread out casino gaming floors for social distancing, and reduced capacity as resorts. These are all the things that guests can expect to see when they check-in to their hotel.

In the city’s new tourism ad that was unveiled mid-May, it highlights the fact that guests will be walking into a more “intimate #OnlyYou” Vegas experience when they return.

However, Vegas under its new coronavirus restrictions is still a city of fun and entertainment nonetheless. And while this is only the second day casinos have been reopening in the city, it seems like a promising start with the pent-up demand of people wanting to get back in on the action.

Stay Tuned

It’s hard to tell how long airfare and hotel rates will stay at this reduced rate, but, for the sake of hopeful travelers, we hope they stay down for a while.

It will also be interesting to see how Las Vegas does at the end of June, having been reopened for nearly a month.

All we know is, we couldn’t be more excited that casinos have opened back up again! Will you be visiting Las Vegas anytime soon? Let us know in the comments below!

Scenes from Las Vegas’ Reopening: Bellagio Fountains, Packed Casinos, and COVID-19 Protocols

Bellagio Fountains in front of Bellagio Hotel in Las VegasIt’s been nearly three months, or 78 days, since Las Vegas casinos have been in operation, which makes today, June 4, a momentous day in Vegas history with the reopening of casinos across the state.

Many properties began reopening this morning at 9 a.m. MGM Resorts’ two casinos, which are opening initially ahead of its other eight Strip properties, include The Bellagio, which opened its doors at 10 a.m., and its sister property, New York-New York, who just opened one hour later.

One of the most exciting scenes this morning came with the reopening of The Bellagio resort, with the iconic Bellagio Fountains soaring into the sky again after being shut off on March 17.

A local Las Vegas high school teacher, Colleen Vosicky, excitedly drove down to the Bellagio this morning to see her two favorite things on the Strip: the Bellagio Fountains and Bellagio’s free Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, which is themed “Japan Journey: Magic of Kansai.”

Vosicky says the fountains are what “make Vegas, Vegas.” The second fountain show today played to Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas.”

The conservatory is now open to the public, but has ropes around its new display to encourage social distancing throughout the exhibit.

Tourists Return to the Entertainment Capital

While casinos reopened today, Las Vegas Boulevard was a mild scene with a handful of tourists roaming about. Most tourists were already inside of the reopened casinos.

Two annual visitors from Florida, Eyal Ben Shushan and Suzette Suarez, flew into Las Vegas on Thursday to get in on the reopening action. They plan on staying at the Venetian through Sunday.

“We love Vegas,” Ben Shushan said. “We have our spots that we like to see — not too much into the gambling as we adore the architecture and everything, to be honest. We just like traveling and getting and getting our head away from what we do in our daily lives.”

Suarez is a nurse who was ready for a much-needed vacation, and Shushan wanted to be in Vegas to celebrate his birthday this weekend. The pair felt like it was safe enough to return, especially with the newly implemented coronavirus safety measures, like Venetian’s Clean Initiative.

Two Illinois visitors, Kathy Massullo and her mom, Georgia Hess, are also staying at The Venetian and waiting an hour for it to reopen its door. The pair were not aware that Thursday was the first day casinos reopened, as they booked their reservation in advance and didn’t keep tabs on the local news.

Hess is most looking forward to making some winnings at the casino, while her daughter Massullo is grateful for the trip to spend a vacation and quality time with her mother after a long countrywide shutdown.

“We just enjoy being together with everything that’s been going on and trying to go back to a sense of normalcy — whatever that is — a new normal,” Massullo said.

Employees Return to their Casino Industry Work

Casino employees have been preparing to return to work for nearly two weeks, as tens of thousands of industry employees were pre-tested for COVID-19 before being allowed back on the job.

Employees were tested at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Sands Expo.

Greg Barlow, a bellman at Bellagio, returned to work bright and early at 7 a.m. this morning for the first time since March. Barlow said his couch was going to miss him.

Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO of MGM Resorts International, was back on the scene to welcome in visitors in Bellagio’s front lobby this morning. He elbow-bumped his fellow executives that were also on-site for the day reopening day.

Locals Return to the Casinos, Too

Plenty Williams, a local resident, said he waited nearly three months for this day to arrive in his hometown.

With two days off from his job, he headed down to the Fremont Street Experience for the traditional Vegas experience: gambling, having a few cocktails and relaxing in between.

He described the scene at the D Hotel as “vibrant” at 4:30am. Williams said the only thing that looks different about going inside is having your temperature checked. Guests put their wrist up to have their internal temperature taken, and are also offered a mask upon entering.

Williams said the coronavirus shutdown was a depressing moment for the city as a whole but is looking ahead towards Vegas new future.

“The reopening of Las Vegas, it has made me excited,” Williams said.

The reopening of Las Vegas casinos couldn’t have gone better for one local, Beth Toy. The Las Vegas resident returned to her very Las Vegas resort this morning, Red Rock Casino, and won $4,040 on a video poker machine after hitting four aces.

“This is too cool. I love Vegas,” Toy said. “This is my stress reliever. I wouldn’t have missed this.”

Toy wasn’t the only one dying to get back inside of Red Rock, as she was among hundreds of people who were lined up in front of the casino before it opened.

Downtown Casinos Opened a Day Earlier than Strip Properties

The scene downtown was vibrant and full of good vibes with the casinos reopening. In fact, hotel-casinos in downtown LV opened a day ahead of Strip properties and the pent-up demand to walk back into a casino door was high indeed.

At the D Las Vegas, the parking lot was full of patrons waiting until the clock struck midnight to reenter the casino floor. Only hotel guests were able to come inside of the property ahead of the midnight opening to the public.

Once the clock hit 12:01 a.m.on early Thursday morning, casinos in Downtown Las Vegas became packed.

The Fremont Street Experience, on the other hand, remained quiet through sunset. If you were looking to find the crowds on the morning of June 4, you would look no further than downtown casinos.

Dancers working at downtown casinos could be seen wearing masks and full plastic face shields as they spun around on tables.

“This is a tuxedo day. We’re kicking off Las Vegas. People are excited and curious,” casino owner Derek Stevens said the day of reopening.

Coronavirus Measures Put into Play

One of the most noticeable scenes on Las Vegas’ reopening day is the number of casino employees fanned out across the casino floor wiping down slot machines and other high-contact hard surfaces throughout the area.

Upon entering the casinos even, guests should expect to have their temperatures checked in a non-invasive manner.

Guests will also notice how much more space is in between table games and slot machines, as casino floors throughout properties across the whole valley have been rearranged to support social distancing guidelines.

Most, if not all, casino employees are wearing some type of facial coverings. Casino companies like Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment are requiring their employees to wear masks at all times during their shifts, and are required to have masks available to offer to guests.

While guests are not mandated to wear facial coverings, they are strongly being encouraged to do so. Signage posted throughout the casinos also provides instructions on how to properly wear and dispose of masks, reminders for social distancing, and what to do if patrons notice someone is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Table games and sportsbooks also have plexiglass barriers and partitions added for extra protection for employees and guests, and contactless hotel check-ins are being offered at many properties to reduce guest interaction.

Reduced Capacity and Limited Strip Properties Open to Start

With Las Vegas reopening amid a global pandemic, they want to make sure they’re doing things right.

Upon reopening, many properties are implementing a reduced capacity rule to start. MGM Resorts, for example, is only allowing 25 perfect capacity.

Not all Las Vegas casinos have reopened right away either. MGM Resorts, for example, have only reopened two of their 10 Strip properties, The Bellagio and New York-New York. Caesars Entertainment reopening Caesars Palace and Flamingo on June 4, and will be opening up their Harrah’s property on Friday, June 5.

Casino companies are taking a careful, measured approach to reopening, making sure that nothing backfires in their face that would potentially cause another closure, and we applaud them for doing that.

Las Vegas Casinos that are Now Open

As of June 4, these Las Vegas casinos are open for business:

  • Boyd Gaming (Aliante, California, Cannery, Fremont, Gold Coast, Joker’s Wild, Sam’s Town, Suncoast, The Orleans)
  • Caesars Entertainment (Caesars Palace, Flamingo)
  • The Cosmopolitan
  • The D and Golden Gate
  • El Cortez
  • Ellis Island
  • Golden Nugget
  • MGM Resorts
  • M Resort
  • The Plaza
  • Sahara
  • Station Casinos (All Wildfire division properties, Boulder Station, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Red Rock, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station)
  • Silverton
  • Silver Sevens
  • South Point
  • The Strat
  • Treasure Island
  • Tuscany Suites
  • The Venetian and Palazzo
  • Wynn and Encore

Stay Tuned

After a long, nearly three months of being shutdown, we’re more than thrilled that Las Vegas has finally reopened. The governor and city officials have taken the reopening very seriously, and we believe they’ve put Las Vegas in a position to win.

Are you excited that Las Vegas casinos have officially reopened? Will you be visiting the city anytime soon?

We’d love to see you back! Be sure to stay tuned for more updates regarding Las Vegas’ reopening.

How Las Vegas Sportsbooks Plan to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Las Vegas SportsbookWhen Las Vegas sportsbooks finally reopen this Thursday, they’re going to look a lot different.

Sportsbooks across the valleys are implementing a whole new set of protocols in order to safely welcome back bettors while slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

According to Jay Kornegay, vice president of Westgate sportsbook, 60 percent of chairs will be removed to encourage social distancing, as well as removing every other seat in the racebook.

Finding a way to moderate capacity seems like the trend that many sportsbooks are going to do.

Along with sportsbooks rearranged to support social distancing, those placing wagers can bet on seeing plexiglass partitions at individual betting windows and signage posted to remind guests to keep their distance.

At William Hill kiosk locations, as well as select full-service retail books, specific signage will read “Beat the spread, practice physical distancing,” making sure guests know to keep the designated space while in line.

Ticket writers will also be spread out to every other window, to guide social distancing. High-touch areas of sportsbooks, like counters, chairs, and kiosks will be wiped down and sanitized frequently to prevent are dangerous bacteria from remaining on surfaces.

Changes Coming to Casinos Offering Sportsbooks Across Las Vegas

It’s most likely that sportsbook employees will be wearing guests while on duty. Staff at Station Casinos, South Point, and Circa Sports, for instance, will all be required to wear face coverings, and each casino will take it a step further by conducting non-invasive temperature scans on all hotel guests and staff members.

Casino gaming floors will also be rearranged to support social distancing, and hand sanitizer dispensers will be found in high-traffic areas throughout the properties.

Other casinos, like South Point, are taking an additional precautionary measure by spray cleaning its sportsbook, racebook, bingo hall, and restaurants with electrostatic fogging machines.

“It looks like the backpack from ‘Ghostbusters.’ We’ll go through every night and fog all the rooms down,” said South Point general manager Ryan Growney.

Sportsbook Operators Are Excited to Reopen

Despite the current somber and worrisome scene across the Las Vegas valley right now due to prolonged protests and the coronavirus still being in the air, sportsbook operators are looking forward to reopening within a couple of days, as it’s been a long time coming.

“We’re certainly excited to open up our doors and get people back on the property. Not only for the hotel-casinos but the sportsbooks as well,” said Jeff Benson, operations manager for Circa, which has books at the Golden Gate and D Las Vegas in Downtown Las Vegas.

Downtown Las Vegas Protestors Delay Reopening Party

Fremont East District in Las VegasIn what was supposed to be the reopening party of downtown Las Vegas, after a long two-month shutdown due to COVID-19, turned out to be a scene overrun by protestors waiting to be heard instead.

The crowds of protestors came together in tribute of George Floyd, carrying signs that read “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” and chanting that they want justice, and they want it now.

The plight of the protestors threw any social distancing precautions out the window, and we can understand why.

From blasts erupting on the streets and smoke going up in the air, to bottles being thrown at officers, to tear-gas exchanges and pawnshops being looted, the scene was far from safe for downtown businesses to reopen.

Downtown Businesses That Were Going to Reopen Their Doors

Before the streets were overtaken by protestors, downtown Las Vegas staples were gearing up to open their doors and welcome back guests.

Many of those businesses are in the popular Fremont East district, including hit bars like the Griffin, Downtown Cocktail Room, Commonwealth, and the Corduroy.

Some businesses did remain open during the madness, however, like downtown’s prominent pizza parlor Evel Pie.

The protest began at the family-friendly Container Park and eventually made its way to the Clark County Detention Center. There, an inmate turned his cell light on and off to incite cheers from the protestors.

What began as a peaceful protest on 7th and Fremont Street later turned into a riot that involved more than 2,000 people, with 103 people arrested, according to local police. Nearly 300 officers were on-site, with 11 officer injuries.

Police advised that one Metro patrol car was burned and two additional vehicles.

Downtown Businesses and Community Members Clean Up After Saturday’s Protest

The downtown community and business leaders came together early Sunday morning to help clean up after the protests from the night before.

Volunteers even showed up to the area after watching what went down on the news the night before. It was a group effort, and all hands were needed on deck.

Many windows of downtown businesses had been shattered, with graffiti covering the walls reading “Black Lives Matter” and common obscenities directed toward law enforcement. Trash also filled the roadways.

As soon as the downtown streets were cleared of protestor Saturday night, The D Hotel already had staff members begin repainting walls covered with graffiti.

Downtown Businesses In Support of the Protest

Downtown businesses found themselves in a unique position over the three-day protest, as they began boarding up their windows to show support against police brutality while also cleaning up the mess the rage had made.

While the protests put a halt to some downtown businesses’ reopening plans, for others, they were determined to reopen amid the destruction.

One of downtown’s newest restaurants, The District Tap, reopened its indoor dining room on Monday, despite protestors’ presence in the area.

Other downtown businesses carried forth with their reopening plans on Monday as well. Commonwealth, a popular, artsy cocktail lounge in Fremont East, will be open for business for their Tuesday trivia night. This week’s theme? Disney trivia.

Stay Tuned

While the protests delayed downtown Las Vegas’ reopening plans, it was an important moment for downtown Las Vegas to stand in solidarity with protestors, and it seems like businesses will still have their breakthrough moment when they can safely welcome all guests back.

Las Vegas is reopening quickly, with casinos set to reopen June 4.

We’re glad that the protest didn’t end in more destruction or violence, and we hope that peace can run through the city and the rest of the nation once more.

Be sure to check back for more coverage on Las Vegas reopening.

These Las Vegas Casinos Plan to Reopen on June 4

Las Vegas StripLast Tuesday, Gov. Steve Sisolak gave the go-ahead to casinos to reopen on June 4, as was tentatively planned.

This is major news for the popular tourist and gaming destination, as casinos in Las Vegas have waiting a long two months to see the light of day again.

The reopening decision came on the heels of the Silver State entering Phase 2 of its reopening plan, coupled with a positive decline in COVID-19 trends and data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

While all casinos will be able to open next week, that doesn’t mean that all of them are planning to. Major casino operators, like MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, will be opening only two of their 10 Strip properties initially. Of those operators, The Bellagio, New York-New York, Caesars Palace, and Flamingo will resume operations to start.

Here’s a look into other Las Vegas casino-hotels that are planning on opening up next Thursday, June 4.

Boyd Gaming

On Wednesday, Boyd Gaming announced it would be reopening several of its Nevada properties, and that they are excited for the opportunity to resume operations in its home state.

The properties they’re reopening in Nevada include:

  • Aliante
  • California
  • Cannery
  • Fremont
  • Gold Coast
  • Joker’s Wild
  • Sam’s Town
  • Suncoast
  • The Orleans

Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith said the company will have 19 of its 29 properties across the country opened initially, and plan to have its remaining properties reopened by the end of June.

Caesars Entertainment

On Wednesday, Caesars Entertainment announced that by 10 am, June 4, Caesars Palace and Flamingo will be open for business.

Because of public demand, the company also announced that on June 5 at 11 am, Harrah’s Las Vegas will also reopen.

“Initial customer demand to visit the Las Vegas Strip has been much stronger than anticipated, triggering our decision to reopen Harrah’s Las Vegas, in addition to Caesars Palace, Flamingo and LINQ Promenade, next week,” Caesars CEO Tony Rodio explained in a statement.

The Cosmopolitan

On Wednesday, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas announced it would reopen on June 4 at 10 am, dependent on approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The property has been fine-tuning and expanding their existing health and safety guidelines, to include several new enhancements.

Those enhancements include non-invasive temperature screenings, rearranging the casino floor plan to support social distancing initiatives, and increased sanitation measures. 

The D and Golden Gate

The D and Golden Gate will both be reopening June 4.

The reopening announcement came with owner Derek Stevens’ giveaway of 1,000 free flights to Las Vegas, to incentivize tourists to return sooner rather than later.

According to Stevens, the giveaway was part of an effort to safely bring visitors to the city, while also reminding them why the city earned its title of “Entertainment Capital of the World.”

El Cortez

According to the general manager, the historic downtown property will reopen at midnight on June 4.

The property is looking forward to welcoming back its extended El Cortez family of employees and guests and welcoming them back safely early next Thursday morning.

The company has been testing out plexiglass barriers, or “sneeze guards” on its blackjack tables and in between slot machines on the casino floor to safely welcome back guests. 

Ellis Island

The slightly off-Strip property, located on Flamingo Road and Koval Lane near Las Vegas Boulevard, confirmed they will be reopening their doors on June 4.

The smaller property is known for its live karaoke and 24-hour café. 

Golden Nugget

According to its website, Golden Nugget will be reopening its hotel first, on Wednesday, June 3 at 3 pm. The rest of the property, including its gaming floor, will reopen on June 4.

The website says the company is excited to welcome guests back, “just in time for summer fun.”

MGM Resorts

On Wednesday, MGM Resorts announced the reopening of The Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand, and The Signature on June 4.

According to the company, more of its properties on the Las Vegas Strip will reopen as demand increases.

“As we plan for these openings, the health and safety or our guests and employees is at the forefront of all we do. Getting many of our employees back to work and welcoming guests through our doors once again will allow us to do what we do best – entertain. The team is ready and we can’t wait,” said acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle.

M Resort

M Resort announced that it would be reopening on June 4, although multiple amenities, such as the spa, pool, valet, convention center area, and banquet services will remain closed in the meantime.

“While the amenities our customers have come to know and love may be somewhat limited for the time being, the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remain our top priority,” M Resort general manager Hussain Mahrous said in a statement.

 The Plaza

On Wednesday, the Plaza announced that it would be reopening on June 4.

Entrances to the property will be reduced, as well as having curbside check-in available for guests to minimize contact. All employees will be required to wear masks and guests will be encouraged to do so. Staff will also have their temperatures checked before starting their shift.

Sahara

On the company’s Twitter page, they announced they’ll be reopening June 4.

The property will do a phased reopening. On its first day back, the casino floor, several dining outlets, rooftop pools, and Starbucks will be open for business.

Sahara says it’s committed to guest and staff safety, and any changes done will be to adhere to social distancing and safety guidelines.

Station Casinos

On Wednesday, Station Casino announced that several of its properties will be opening on June 4.

Those properties include:

  • All Wildfire division properties
  • Boulder Station
  • Green Valley Ranch
  • Palace Station
  • Red Rock
  • Santa Fe Station
  • Sunset Station

 Silverton

According to a Silverton company spokesman, the property will be reopening June 4 at 10 am. 

Silver Sevens

Silver Sevens will be reopening its doors on June 4 at 10 am.

According to the company, they will be making hotel reservations beginning June 18.

Initially, the property will be opening slots and limited food and beverage options once it reopens. 

South Point

Pending approval from the Control Board, South Point will be reopening June 4.

The Strat

According to Golden Entertainment, the company that owns the casino-hotel, The Strat Casino, Hotel, and SkyPod will be reopening bright and early at 8 am on June 4.

The property will be reopening to reduced capacity, at 50 percent, to allow for property social distancing.

As an added bonus, the company is offering up to a 45 percent discount on room reservations.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island will be reopening its doors on June 4 at 10 am.

The pool, spa, restaurants, and gift shops will also be available on opening day, as well as free self-parking.

On June 5, the sportsbook will open back up as well.

Tuscany Suites

On their Twitter, the company announced on Wednesday that it will be reopening June 4 at 4 am.

With the state in Phase 2, Tuscany Suites was able to reopen its Piazza Lounge on Friday, May 29.

The Venetian and Palazzo

Both The Venetian and Palazzo will be reopening jointly at 9am on June 4.

Wynn and Encore

On Wednesday, Wynn Resorts announced they would be reopening Wynn Las Vegas and Encore towers on June 4.

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.

i
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.