It’s now officially been two weeks since Nevada has been in Phase 1 of its reopening plan, which it entered in on May 9.
Governor Sisolak advised that coronavirus data trends, including the number of daily positive cases, hospitalizations, and COVID-19-related deaths, would be monitored over the 14-day period to determine whether Nevada would be able to enter into Phase 2.
So far, so good it seems. The Silver State hasn’t seen any significant jumps in coronavirus reports, paving the way for Nevada to fully reopen as things stand now.
On May 26, Sisolak is set to hold a press conference discussing Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, as well as a reopening date for Nevada’s gaming industry. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will also hold an information workshop then discussing COVID-19 health and safety response measures for casino-hotels.
Before casinos are able to reopen, the Control Board needs at least seven days to review reopening plans from Nevada properties.
But this is great news for the state’s gaming industry, after a two-month-long shutdown, Nevada casinos finally have an end in sight. Sisolak says the state aims to have casinos statewide reopened by June 4.
Casinos are Eager and Ready to Return
The tentative reopening date has been a long time coming for Nevada casinos, who have been preparing for the day they get the green light to reopen for the past few weeks.
A majority of the companies in Las Vegas have been opening booking dates since Mid-May, with some of them accepting reservations for Memorial Day Weekend, a date they hoped they would get to reopen.
Many casinos have had to remain flexible with their booking dates, opening up booking dates just in case they were allowed to reopen, only to cancel them later when they didn’t actually get the green light.
But preparing to reopen has kept them busy enough until they get the official announcement from Gov. Sisolak. Resorts have been carefully developing their reopening plans, including a hefty list of specific health and safety protocols to ensure their properties are ready enough to welcome back guests and staff.
“It’s been a long two months for us. It’s been a long two months for everyone in the state, but we’re ready to go back to business in Nevada,” said Boyd Gaming Corp. spokesman David Strow.
Strip resorts are ready to finally open their doors, and for properties like Wynn Resorts, they’re looking forward to working with regulators to open safely and on time. The mass testing of casino employees officially went underway last Thursday, to prepare for casinos reopening.
According to Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver, the company applauds the Nevada governor for his targeted June 4 reopening date.
Weaver says Sisolak’s careful, science-based approach to shutting down casinos and halting tourism to stop the spread of the coronavirus is what has effectively enabled the state to finally open its economy back up, avoiding what could have been a possible catastrophe and an even longer lockdown period.
Tourists are Ready to Return, Too
With the whole country on lockdown practically these past two months too, the cabin fever has many ready to return to the city of lights. And while the virus is still an ever-present concern, Strip casinos are doing everything they can to make guests feel confident to return to their properties.
Their new safety protocols include everything from thermal screenings or entrants and ensuring that all staff members wear face masks, to rearranging casino floors to support social distancing and the careful monitoring of HVAC systems to name a few.
One frequent visitor from Fresco, CA, Virginia Allegra, says she plans to come back to Las Vegas as soon as it reopens. She’s so eager to return, in fact, that she’s already rebooked six separate reservations with MGM Resorts. The re-bookings were due to the company’s tentative reopening dates being pushed back several times this month.
Another frequent visitor from California, Joann Woodward, a nurse practitioner from Downey, says she plans on returning in mid-June, in order to give casino companies enough time to work out their new reopening measures.
And while she’s a nurse, she says she feels pretty safe in casinos.
“I’m a nurse practitioner, I already wash my hands 40, 50 times a day. I’m not going to shake hands with anybody or hug them,” Woodward added.
Control Board Holds a Lot of Weight in Decision to Officially Reopen
In Sisolak’s Thursday announcement of the tentative June 4 reopening date for Nevada’s gaming industry, he explained that the official decision to reopen is dependent on the evaluation of the state’s COVID-19 trends, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s meeting results.
The Governor should be provided with enough information to feel confident about his decision to reopen June 4 with the Control Board’s information workshop, plus positive COVID-19 state trends, should they continue to remain steady and not significantly increase.
Should the early June reopening date hold firm, it will allow casinos across the state at least two weeks to prepare.
That should hopefully give properties enough time to remobilize their workforce, iron out reopening measures, and begin marketing and promotional blasts to get guests back to their doors.
“It’ll be good to see the energy and the jobs and the life come back to the Strip, even under these unusual circumstances,” said Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors LLC.
Reopening Announcement Came Soon After NV’s Unemployment Numbers Were Disclosed
Gov. Sisolak’s tentative reopening date announcement came on the heels of disclosing the state’s shocking unemployment rate: 28.2 percent.
According to targetable data, that’s the highest unemployment rate of any state in any month since 1976. The rate is so high that even local economists are alarmed by it.
While the numbers are shocking, it’s no surprise that a state that’s largely dependent on tourism and gaming, two industries that were knocked flat on their back by the coronavirus pandemic, has been impacted in the way that it has been.
Jeremy Aguero, an economist with Applied Analysis, says that reviving Nevada’s gaming industry will likely be the driving force in bringing the state’s economy back to life.
“It’s an important first step in pushing our economy forward, getting our economy back to where it was previously,” Aguero said. “There’s a great deal of uncertainty, but we’re taking steps to open all facets of our economy, and that’s exactly what needs to be done.”
Reopening Must be Done Successfully to Avoid Second Wave of the Virus
The Governor has been understandably plagued by his decision to reopen the state at the right time.
There’s obviously a lot that’s weighing on his decision, but no bigger issues than the health of the public and the health of the economy.
For one, the economy and livelihood of industry workers are dependent on the gaming industry reopening. It would mean that thousands of Nevadans could return to work and that the state could start generating sizable income again.
But on the other hand, the health and safety of the public in the face of the deadly coronavirus has been paramount in the decisions that have been made up to this point. The reopening needs to happen at the right time, at the right time, to avoid potentially running into a second wave of the virus.
That’s been a major reason why the decision to reopen has been solely dependent on the state’s COVID-19 trends. If reopening happened prematurely, it could have exacerbated the number of COVID-19 cases, and effectively sent the state back into lockdown.
Sisolak has been clear that that’s a situation he’s been trying to avoid from happening since the state of all this.
After what feels like months of waiting for a specific reopening date, the state finally has one.
It feels like there’s finally a light at the end of this long COVID-19 tunnel, and while we know it will take some time for Las Vegas to thrive like it did before this virus hit, we’re ecstatic that it will get to reopen soon.
What do you think of the state’s tentative June 4 reopening date? Will you be returning once casinos open up their doors? Share with us in the comments below!
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