For 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.
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!