Last 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.
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.
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.