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.

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.

2020 NFL Draft Plans Will Be Released Tuesday: Main Stage & Strip Closures

The Bellagio Fountains Rising During the DayWe’re now only 100 days out from what is planned to be the biggest single event the city of Las Vegas has ever hosted: the 2020 NFL Draft. Official planning is set to get underway for this mega event in Las Vegas, with the Clark County Commission scheduled to reveal those plans in greater detail during their regular Tuesday meeting, according to the agenda.

League officials announced in December 2018 this year’s draft would be held in Las Vegas, coinciding with the Raiders’ first season at Allegiant Stadium. Since then, exact event details, including what venue would serve as host, have not been revealed. The hot topics of discussion have been where the main stage will be, and possible road closures.

Main Stage Contenders

Since the draft announcement, there has been much speculation as to where the draft’s main stage will be. Transportation Reporter for the Las Vegas Review Journal, Mick Akers, shares his insight from Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, talks and trusted sources with Cassie Soto, Sports Anchor and Host for Las Vegas Review Journal:

                “The Bellagio Fountain is a possible main stage contender for the draft. Bellagio would be the dream stage that I think a lot of people would be happy to see come to fruition.”

For a while, the Bellagio Fountains as a backdrop seemed more like a rumor that people had doubts as to whether they could pull it off.

Akers mentioned that the Caesars Forum (behind Harrah’s) could also potentially serve as one of the main stages, which wouldn’t be much of a surprise considering that Caesars is the NFL’s first casino partner.

3-Day Strip Closure

If the main stage does end up being the Bellagio, fans should not plan on driving there or really anywhere on Las Vegs Blvd. for the few days surrounds the event.

For the event to be held successfully at the Bellagio, Akers says a 3-day Strip closure will need to be put in place. It would be the longest sustained closure on the Las Vegas Strip, besides the annual New Year’s Eve closures that last several hours for that one day.

With an event of this magnitude, it would be a 20-day time frame to set up and break down properly, which will result in lane reductions. Locals and tourists alike should keep in mind that the NFL Draft will have a multi-week impact on the city.

Transportation plans will be put in place for workers on the Strip, as they’re the lifeblood of operations in the heart of Sin City. Plans will be put in place to keep things rolling, regardless of there being no vehicle traffic on the Strip. It will also be interesting to see how the RTC, Las Vegas’ most profitable public transit company, will handle the event.

The closure would be planned from Harmon to Spring Mountain, a substantial, populated chunk of Las Vegas Blvd. chock-full of major resorts and restaurants.

Other Sites to Get Draft Action

As far as other sites that will likely get in on the draft action, there are several. Goodell mentioned talks of the High Roller, the Strat, and the famed “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Some Las Vegas icons on the Strip, perhaps even Celine Dion, could be recruited for draft action.

With an estimated 400,000 people coming to Las Vegas strictly for the NFL Draft, the city will make sure to have a plan of strategy in place to handle the volume. Being that Las Vegas in no stranger to major events and hundreds of thousands of tourists being in the city on any given day, we’re confident that Las Vegas serving as the 2020 NFL Draft host will be a wild success.

Bellagio Fountains Set on Fire by Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV shows ever, and the last season—which will air starting April 14—will mark the end of an era which was dominated by dragons, white walkers, kings, queens, priests, and warriors. Adapted from the popular book series by George RR Martin called A Song of Ice and Fire, the show managed to win the hearts of millions of people around the world, inviting them to the magnificent world of Westeros, Essos, and other mythical places. If you are one of the people who has never seen a single episode of GoT, make sure to give it a try – it’s definitely something you will be hooked on after watching the first episode as the show mixes elements of family drama with epic fantasy. In other words, it offers something for everyone!

The show basically depicts ice and fire as the two dominating elements, and one of the ways to promote it was to set fire to a fountain. The iconic Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas seemed to be the most appropriate place for this interesting marketing experiment. The entire fountain show includes a four-minute-long water choreography combined with music and video projections from Game of Thrones.

The entire display starts with quiet music from the piece “Winter is Here,” which was composed by Ramin Djavadi, the mastermind behind the soundtracks of Game of Thrones and Westworld. What follows is a projection on the water that looks like silent snow falling. Everything suddenly becomes very loud, and the memorable opening theme of Game of Thrones kicks in. The first visible thing is the logo of the show, which is followed by silhouettes of dragons and the Night King.

The whole thing is followed by fountains taking various shapes, some of them being the crown, the Iron Throne, and even the Wall which guards the realms of men from the long night. The display culminates with pyrotechnics which is in sync with water, thus combining fire and ice, in a way. One of the projections that was visible during the display included the final scene of the last season which featured (spoiler alert) the Night King riding an undead dragon that breathes blue fire.

The company which made this work of art possible is called WET Design, and they collaborated with Ramin Djawadi in order to create the display. Djawadi was more than happy to have taken part in one such project, saying that the Bellagio Fountain is iconic. He told the press that the whole thing was ‘quite a spectacle’ and that he had enjoyed putting the two together.

The choreographed fountain display has only just started and will run every night until April 13 which is the last day before the Episode 1 lands on HBO. If you happen to be in Las Vegas during that period, make sure to visit the iconic fountain to witness this amazing Game of Thrones display.

The Bellagio Fountains

The Bellagio Fountains are part of the Bellagio resort which is located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada and owned by MGM Resorts International. These dancing water fountains have become the most recognizable part of the resort with thousands of tourists visiting them every night. Every now and then, there is a display made with water that can take your breath away. It is a unique type of fountain that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. It is definitely worth visiting them if you plan a trip to Las Vegas.

Apart from the gaming facility, restaurants, and other facilities related to hospitality, you can also visit the conservatory and botanical gardens, as well as the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts.