Reno Casinos Are Reopening With Safety Measures in Place

Northern Nevada is home to a huge number of world-class gambling venues. Unfortunately, most of them have been shut down for the past few months. Reno casinos are now slowly beginning to open up and visitors are now flocking to the city to take part in the festivities.Reno Sign

It’s an exciting time for Nevada. Reno has always been a major gambling hub. Now, things are slowly getting back to normal here. Today, we’re going to look at what visitors here can expect.

Let’s get into it!

Nevada Begins Allowing Casinos to Reopen

Nevada is home to the biggest gambling industry in the world. Casinos can be found in all parts of the state. Obviously, Las Vegas gets the most attention. This city is known as the gambling and entertainment capital of the country.

In March, Governor Steve Sisolak announced that all casinos in the state were being forced to close their doors. He, and many other health officials, felt that these venues posed a serious risk for major infection spreads. Some casino companies here began losing millions of dollars every single day as a result of these shutdowns.

Everyone knew this couldn’t continue forever. Cities like Las Vegas rely on gambling and tourism revenue. Under the restrictions set in place, this state was losing an unprecedented amount of money and jobs.

Many of the casinos in Nevada were finally given permission to reopen on June 4th. It was a historic moment for the state. Based on several reports, many tourists from around the country were excited to begin visiting these newly-reopened venues.

Most people have been talking about Las Vegas for the past few weeks. Reno, in the north of the state, has also taken a massive blow due to the regulations set in place. This week, several of the casinos in this city opened back up to the public.

Several Reno Casinos Are Now Open to the Public

Reno doesn’t get nearly as much attention as cities like Las Vegas. Many feel that it’s actually better than Las Vegas, though. It’s much quieter, yet a huge number of fantastic casino-resorts are currently operating in this city.

As we just mentioned, several different Reno casinos began opening back up to the public. The Atlantic, for example, recently just opened its doors to the public. John Farahi, CEO of the parent company of The Atlantis, spoke about the difficulties opening back up the public this week.

“A financial issue was something we could have planned for. This is a health issue. This is by far more challenging than our first expansion.”

The cleaning system set in place at this hotel is extensive. Guests are also having their temperature checked when entering the casino. Like many Las Vegas venues, The Atlantis also requires social distancing on the casino floor.

More Reno casinos are expected to open their doors over the next few weeks. Most expect the intense safety measures to remain in place here. It remains to be seen how much tourism begins to increase here this summer.

It’s clear that many people are excited to see these casinos reopen. Las Vegas is already seeing a major surge of tourists. More of the casino-resorts here are opening up in this city and revenue is starting to come back.

Here’s What People Are Saying About Las Vegas Casinos

It was hugely exciting to see the casinos in Las Vegas open back up. Some, however, expressed fear that these venues wouldn’t have the same fun atmosphere that they did at the beginning of this year. Many of the visitors here are commenting on how things are now in this city.

Many are happy to see that casino companies are focused on safety. Most of the casinos now limit the number of players at tables. Hand sanitizing stations are also located throughout most casino floors.

Bobbi Carlisle was the first guest to check-in at the D Hotel-Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. Carlisle claims the atmosphere is still fun, and she expects to gamble on the casino floor over the weekend.

“It’s just been months of us trying to get here,” She said. “Now we’re here, and we’re so excited. We’re hoping to get a keno machine, and we’ll play there for days.”

Things certainly aren’t the same in Las Vegas. The same can be said for the Reno casinos now opened to the public. They are open to guests now, and that’s about as much as we can ask for at this point.

Stay tuned for more Nevada casino news over the next few weeks!

Reno to Shelter Homeless Inside Downtown Events Center During COVID-19 Outbreak

Reno's Downtown Events Center In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the city of Reno is opening the doors to its Downtown Events Center as a makeshift shelter for the community’s homeless.

The space will provide enough room to shelter residents under the CDC’s current social distancing guidelines that recommend 6-feet of distance between people at all times as a means of fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

While the center will serve as a temporary shelter, it is mostly being used to relocate all of the homeless residents from Record Street and house Washington Street’s overflow shelter. Adding more capacity won’t be the main focus.

Volunteers of America (VOA), who operate the region’s homeless shelter, will have access to an additional 50 beds through the use of the Downtown Events Center. That’s significantly more than their current shelter’s capacities.

Downtown Events Center Allows for Social Distancing

Shelter director, Pat Cashell, said their first priority was getting social distancing right, right away. The large, open concert venue allows the square footage for that to happen, with 118,000-square-feet to spare.

“If you were at Record Street last night you’d see people were sleeping shoulder to shoulder,” Cashell said. “There is absolutely no social distancing going on and it’s not safe for anybody.”

Councilman Devon Reese said that while it might not be a permanent solution, it’s the best the city is able to do right now with the “timing and facilities” they have.

Center is Currently Vacant Due to Governor Orders

The concert venue became an available space to use as the temporary shelter due to the fact that it’s vacant and was ordered to close after Gov. Sisolak’s statewide closure of all non-essential businesses for 30 days.

Councilwoman Neoma Jardon said that the events center has enough space for 400 people to sleep.

The space will also be able to accommodate and quarantine homeless individuals that potentially contract the virus.

No Coronavirus Cases for Shelter Residents, Yet

Currently, no shelter residents have tested positive for COVID-19. However, limited testing may be a reason for no reports of positive testing yet.

In Washoe County, there have been 25 positive cases of coronavirus. That’s a smaller number compared with the now 200+ positive cases of the virus coming out of Clark County.

Volunteers of America have been doing their due diligence to check on shelter residents’ health by monitoring their temperature with thermometers that have been provided by Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

The shelters’ have also begun limiting the number of available showers and restrooms, to allow more time to disinfect the facility in between uses.

While the events center doesn’t have showers available at this time, they will put hand-washing stations into place.

A Much-Needed Refuge

With major public buildings closed, like casinos, schools, and libraries, it’s been difficult for the homeless to find public restrooms they can use. The events center will be a much-needed refuge for the community during this time.

Holly Welborn, policy director for the Nevada ACLU, praises the city’s decision to utilize the events center and says they’re eager to learn the proper protocols to put in place to keep the homeless as safe and secure as possible.

“Our most vulnerable residents deserve an equal opportunity to protect themselves against COVID-19,” she said. “We look forward to learning more about protocols to meet CDC requirements and to provide food and access to healthcare.”

Reno’s Washoe County School District Cancels Out-of-State Travel

Washoe County Road SignOn Monday, Washoe County in Reno, Nevada cancelled all of their out-of-state athletic trips in response to coronavirus outbreak concerns. All district-sponsored out-of-state/international trips planned for academic events have also been dismissed.

The cancellation comes two weeks before the school district’s spring break, which goes from March 14-28.

The statement released by administrators on the school district’s website:

“We have made the difficult decision to cancel all out-of-state and all international district-sponsored student and staff travel including conferences, athletics, and academic-related activities until further notice. Please know that the decision did not come lightly. Currently, in-state and in-district events will continue as scheduled. We will be monitoring the situation closely and informing you on any developments.”

In an effort to best protect students and staff members, school officials have begun collaborating with WCSD Student Health Services, Washoe County Health District, State of Nevada, and federal health officials to try figure out how to properly navigate through a situation of this magnitude.

Cancelled Travel Plans Puts Damper on Team’s Morale

Coaches and team players across Washoe County are feeling the heavy string from the cancellation announcement. For many of these teams, it’s what they look forward to and work toward all season long.

Baseball coach of Galena High School, Beau Walker, was looking forward to a tournament his team was going to be apart of in Anaheim next week. That tournament features over 90 teams from across the country.

We were very upset to hear the news about the district cancelling out of state travel,” Walker said. “We have a lot of money tied up in this trip, and are hoping to be able to recover some of it, but there is no guarantee. Many of our parents have plane tickets and hotel rooms booked, and many are non-refundable.”

Walker said the tournament in Southern California provides an important opportunity for talented baseball players from Northern Nevada to be recognized.

“It is sad because this is a trip that our team, and especially our seniors look forward to each year, and there are a lot of colleges that don’t usually get a chance to see northern Nevada guys that come out and see them in this tournament which gives our kids more opportunities to play at the next level. However, I do understand that the county has to do what they can to protect our students,” Walker continued.

Jon Polson, Damonte Ranch’s baseball coach, echoes the sentiment.

‘I am just so sad for our players and especially our seniors. It is always what the kids look forward to in their season.  We have a close-knit group, and travelling always cements that unity.”

Affected High Schools in Washoe County

  • Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology
  • Coral Academy of Science Charter High School
  • Damonte Ranch High School
  • Earl Wooster High School
  • Edward C. Reed High School
  • Galena High School
  • Hug High School
  • I Can Do Anything Charter High School
  • Incline High School
  • Innovations High School
  • North Valleys High School
  • Reno High School
  • Robert McQueen High School
  • Spanish Springs High School
  • Sparks High School
  • Truckee Meadows Community College High School

Coronavirus Cases in Washoe County

Currently, there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County.

The first confirmed case is a male patient in his 50s who was aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship. The second confirmed COVID-19 case in Washoe County is a male in his 30s who had telling symptoms of the virus appear after returning from a trip to Santa Clara, California.

High-Risk Factors

From Washoe County’s official website, they’ve compiled a list of factors that put individuals at higher risk of contracting the virus:

  • Travel within the past 14 days to one of the countries identified through CDC’s travel warnings Level 3, and alerts Level 2, which can be found here.
  • Close contact with persons suspected, or confirmed, to have COVID-19
  • Severe illness requiring hospitalization for a viral respiratory disease that has no other known cause
  • If any of these apply to you, call your medical provider, or the Health District at 775-328-2427 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Sunday, or call Washoe 311 (Dial 3-1-1) after hours.

About Washoe County

Washoe County is Nevada’s second-most populous county, with Reno being its largest city. It covers over 6,600 sprawling square miles, borders California and Oregon, and is home to almost half a million residents.

Jacobs Entertainment Invests Over $100M in Sands Regency and Reno Neon Line

Sands Regency RenoThe Sands Regency in Reno will be undergoing a hefty renovation, thanks to their owners, Jacobs Entertainment. The casino’s owners and operators recently unveiled their new designs for the planned remodel and expansion.

On top of the casino renovation plans, Jacobs Entertainment will also invest $150 million in its Reno Neon Line project.

The Reno Neon Line project will be a lively entertainment district that will stretch from downtown Reno’s West Street to Keystone Avenue. It will feature various entertainment and public amenities, including public art, restaurants, retail and more.

Jacobs Entertainment acquired four downtown Reno motels along the upcoming district’s West Fourth Street corridor stretch that they will also revive. Those properties include The Castaway Inn, Seven Eleven Motor Lodge, Town House Motor Lodge, and Sarrazin Arms Apartments.

“At the end of the day, we’ll have around 300 units, including Renova (Flats) and Loft 601,” said CEO Jeff Jacobs in a phone statement.

While Reno has been struggling with an affordable housing market, Jacobs Entertainment promises to increase affordable units with its new projects.

“As part of our proposed development agreement with the city of Reno, Jacobs Entertainment is committed to preserving 100 affordable housing units for the next decade,” Jacobs said. “These will be both senior and workforce affordable housing units, and will represent 30% of our apartment units along Reno’s Neon Line.”

Jacobs Entertainment’s recently announced projects are apart of Reno Neon Line’s second phase of development. The first phase is the new Sands Connect event space that was announced last month (more on that below).

Sands Regency Renovations

As it currently stands, the Sands Regency features over 800 guestrooms and the largest standard guestroom available in downtown Reno.

Back in Octobers, Jacobs told the Reno Gazette that he planned on allocating over $100,000 per room on their flagship casino-hotel Sands Regency remodel.

The company’s goal in refreshing the casino is to make it “the nicest” hotel-casino in Reno and that it’s “not going to be the Sands that your grandmother was used to.”

On top of renovating 725 of the hotel’s guestrooms, the company will also be adding a brand new spa, new restaurants, an exciting new rooftop pool, a new casino, and a second parking garage to top it all off.

“We want to let the site reach its full potential as a destination resort casino,” Jacobs said. “We need as many amenities as we can have to attract folks to come to Reno.”

Phase one of the Sands remodel is expected to be finished by early 2022.

About Sands Connect

The Sands Connect will be a viable event space nestled conveniently between Sands Regency and Gold Dust West. According to Jacobs Entertainment, the event space can be used for public and private events, events like food truck festivals. Outdoor shows, exhibits, farmer’s market and more.

The space will be home to nine of Reno’s more classic neon signs. Jacobs described the design approach as a way to honor Reno’s classic past while launching it into the future.

“Reno’s Neon Line is about celebrating Reno’s future, while also embracing its past,” Jacobs said.

There are already nine events scheduled to take place at Sands Connect in 2020:

June 5 to 7: Reno Art Fest

July 3 to 5: Red, White & Brew

August 6 to 9: Sierra Nevada European Car Festival

August 28 to 29: Camp Tiny Houses

September 4 to 6: Labor Day Weekend Party

September 7 to 9: Playa Transition

September 11 to 12: Little Hero’s

September 19 to 20: Taco Fest

September 25 to 27: Street Vibrations

About Reno’s Neon Line

From their official website:

Reno’s Neon Line District is a $1 billion, mixed-use project that stretches from downtown Reno’s West Street to Keystone Avenue, and from Interstate 80 South to West Second Street. This brand-new live-work-play district will serve as a hub for all ages celebrating Reno’s eccentric culture through pedestrian-friendly amenities, public art, restaurants, retail, and entertainment venues.

About Jacobs Entertainment

From their official website:

Jacobs Entertainment, Inc. (JEI) is a developer, owner and operator of gaming and entertainment facilities in four regions of the United States. The company’s vision is to develop a strategic and geographically diverse portfolio of gaming, lodging and mixed-use facilities that provide guests with an unrivaled entertainment experience.

 With more than 2,000 employees and a long-tenured management team, our experience in real estate, gaming development, financing, leasing and operations establishes JEI as a committed industry leader with a reputation for quality.

 Core to the company’s value is our commitment to ethical leadership, outstanding training, and open employee communication. We are community partners, committed to supporting each jurisdiction in which we work and live.

Reno Has Second Possible Coronavirus Case in Nevada

Reno, Nevada SignThe second presumed coronavirus case has been reported out of the Reno area on Thursday. The first case of the coronavirus was reported out of Las Vegas on Thursday.

The Las Vegas man, who’s in his 50s, recently returned from a trip to Washington state, where 14 deaths have been linked to COVID-19 disease. The man had also recently traveled to Texas, where the first travel-associated case was reported.

The case was discovered when the man received lab results after seeking treatment for respiratory distress.

Currently, the Las Vegas diagnosis is pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief of the Southern Nevada Health District. Although Leguen referred to the diagnosis as being “presumptive,” evidence points to it being at least 95% certain.

In the most recent Nevada case, a Reno man, also in his 50s, was linked to the possible coronavirus outbreak that occurred on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

Since the man has a family member who is a student Huffaker Elementary School Due, the school closed its doors on Friday as a precaution to combat the potential infection.

The diagnoses of the Reno case was announced late Thursday by the Washoe County Health District, the same day health officials announced Nevada’s first case out of Las Vegas.

According to health officials, the Reno-area man is stable and self-loathing at home.

Grand Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak

The luxury cruise ship, Grand Princess, was recently impacted by the coronavirus when a 71-year-old man died from the virus after being on the ship’s last voyage.

The death prompted the cruise ship company to halt the ship’s current voyage this morning, where it was about 55 miles off the California coast, to test 45 of the 3,500 people aboard, guests and crew members alike.

“We’re awaiting word on the California Department of Public Health on the timing of test results [of] the samples sent for testing yesterday,” the captain is heard saying in a video released by USA TODAY.

According to company officials, those aboard the ship’s current voyage may have been affected by the 62 passengers who sailed on Grand Princess’ previous Mexico voyage with the 71-year-old who died from the infection.

Two California passengers from that voyage have also been hospitalized, with one testing positive for the coronavirus. According to California Governor Newsom, the passenger testing positive is said to be in “difficult condition.”

In a statement provided Thursday by Princess Cruises spokesperson, Alivia Owyoung Ender, guests have been asked to stay in their rooms for the remainder of the cruise, although an official quarantine has not been mandated.

“In many respects, our ships are small floating cities. Just as life happens in cities for good and for bad, life also happens onboard our ships,” Princess Cruises’ president Jan Swartz said in a video posted on Twitter Friday morning.

Worldwide Spread of the Coronavirus

Currently, the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, has touched nearly 97,000 people worldwide. In China, where the virus is said to have originated, there have been 3,300 related deaths.

In Italy, there have been 3,800 coronavirus cases and the deaths near 200 as of Friday.

On Friday, the first case of novel coronavirus has also been found in Colombia. The patient is a 19-year-old woman who recently traveled to Milan, Italy and returned home with symptoms related to the virus.

In the US, Washington state has so far been hit the hardest, with 14 reported deaths.

Be sure to stay up on the latest coronavirus updates as the outbreak continues to touch different parts of the country and the globe.

New $500k Refuge Spa Addition at Renaissance Reno Hotel

Woman Lying on Chair at Pool Spa
Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel recently debuted their Refuge Spa on Feb. 22.

The 5,000 square-foot, full-service spa, which is located on the fourth floor of the property, features seven boutique treatment rooms, a float pod, a co-ed infrared sauna, locker rooms and showers, a VIP party lounge, and The Rise Spa bar.

According to a hotel representative, the new “urban sanctuary” cost about $500,000. From the official website for The Refuge Spa:

“The Refuge Spa is your tool for recovery so you can get back out and rise. Rise above the stress, the noise, the pressure and live life to its fullest. You aren’t going to be a victim of overwhelm. Instead, you’re going to take time to take care of you so that you can get back out there and thrive.”

Refuge Spa’s Industry-Leading Amenities

Float Pod

Refuge is leading the pack by being one the first spas to offer the popular new advanced floatation therapy. The Float Pod allows spa guests to float effortlessly atop buoyant water, inside of a large bed-sized container. The container features a special blend of water, salt, and minerals that allow floating to take place with ease.

Lounge & Sauna

The Reflect Lounge features beautiful, reflective art, cozy furniture, and complimentary refreshments to elevate spa guest into a tranquil headspace. The infrared sauna works to release bodily tension and help patrons detox from the day.

The Rise Spa Bar

The Rise Bar offers unique, hand-crafted cocktails and mocktails, craft beers, teas and spritzers, and health elixirs such as kombucha. The bar also serves up a small food menu, which include daily muffins, grilled chicken sandwiches, and Caesar salad.

Some of their specialty cocktails include the Wanderer, which uses watermelon kombucha, the Gold-Fashioned, their spin on the classic old-fashioned, and the Elderflower Essence, which infused elderflower liqueur with sparkling wine.

VIP Party Lounge

The VIP Party Lounge seeks to throw memorable spa parties by offering themed parties and several amenities. There are five different themed beverage bars for you and your besties to choose from: Keep It Classy, Mimosa Memories, Bites & Brews, Sparkle & Savor, and Fresh & Fabulous.

The packages include 50-80 minute spa treatment per guest, all-access pass to spa and amenities, choice of themed beverage bar and gourmet appetizer platter, and an 1.5 hours in the private VIP party lounge.

About Reno Renaissance Hotel

Reno Renaissance Downtown Hotel is a Marriott property in the heart of downtown Reno, Nevada. From their official website:

“Business and leisure travelers will have everything they need for their stay at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel. Boasting a prime location just 3.4 miles from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, our upscale hotel provides easy access to top attractions such as the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and the Reno Events Center.

Guests can also have fun with our full-service bar and bocce courts, complemented by skee-ball, darts, shuffleboard, air hockey, pool tables, and arcade games. Retreat to stylish rooms and suites featuring chic décor, luxury bedding, plug-in media panels, flat-panel TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi.

You can also savor delicious fare at our on-site restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine in a casual fine dining environment.

Stay on top of your workout routine at our 24-hour fitness center and take a swim in our seasonal outdoor pool. If you’re hosting a business or social gathering during your trip, reserve one of our event venues.

Expect a rewarding stay at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel.”

Harrah’s Reno Will Transform Into Reno City Center

Hotel-Casinos in Downtown RenoReno’s historic Harrah’s hotel-casino was recently sold for $50 million by VICI Properties and Caesars Entertainment to Las Vegas-based real estate group CAI Investments, after being a landmark presence in the Northern Nevada city for nearly 83 years.

Harrah’s Reno first opened in 1937. It was founded by William F. “Bill” Harrah and originally a small bingo parlor and casino. Harrah was a successful entrepreneur in the United States, and Harrah’s Reno was the company’s first establishment. Today, the Harrah’s chain has 17 casinos in 11 different states. Four of them are located in Nevada, with Harrah’s properties in Laughlin, Reno, Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe.

There are plans to renovate and update the long-established casino into a mixed non-gambling property in downtown Reno. Eventually, this area will be known as the Reno City Center.

Plans for the New Reno City Center

The remodeled property will feature about 530 market-rate apartments, 150,000 square feet of new office space, and 78,500 square feet of retail. Some of the planned stores include dining options such as a grocery star, a bar, a coffee shop, and even a few restaurants.

The Reno City Center will also feature a fitness center. There are plans to accommodate other recreational activities as well. According to CAI, there may be areas to walk around, similar to a park-like structure. Plans also factor in the east tower but remain fluid, CAI told the Reno Gazette Journal.

“The goal with the property is to offer much-needed housing, office and services to the downtown Reno market — all of which are instrumental in the continued diversification of the Reno economy”, said CAI Investments CEO Chris Beavor.

“Fulfilling these needs are especially important if Reno wants to continue attracting new businesses and employees to the region.”

The plans for this update is for the new infrastructure to be versatile. They plan to host plenty of easy and fun options on-site. The idea is for future residents to be able to take the elevator down from their apartment and have a walking distance commute at any of the offices. Then, they can take another walk down the river or head over to the gym. And it could all take place within the very same building.

Services are also planned to be a la carte, giving renters the options to pick and choose which services they want to utilize and pay for, be it parking, the gym, or pet-friendly lodging features. Apartments will be offered as one and two bedroom configurations, priced at market rate.

Estimated Timeline for Completion

Beavor hopes to have the Harrah’s Reno refresh done within 30 months after Caesars’ lease finishes later this year. Gryphon Private Wealth Management and CAI will be working together for the Reno City Center project.

The City Center also aimsto open at the same time as CAI’s 20-story boutique hotel project that will be located on Court Street. The boutique hotel project will be built from the ground up, unlike Harrah’s reboot.

Beaver is a Reno native. Hopefully, the two projects will add substantial value, bring traffic, and garner more attention toward downtown Reno.

“If you think of Reno in terms of a baseball match, we’re just right now at the top of the third,” Beavor said.

“Everyone in Reno has done a great job in the last 10 to 15 years with the downtown regional plan. Our next push into the fourth inning is to help improve the repositioning of downtown.”