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.