The good news: Las Vegas casinos are at least starting to consider the possibility of re-opening following the unprecedented shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bad news: there’s no firm time frame as to when this reopening might occur. The reality: the casino experience will be markedly different in the near term than at any point in memory.
Earlier this week, Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox released a statement in which he expressed hope that the Las Vegas Strip would ‘slowly begin’ to re-open sometime in May. He made note of the hard hit Nevada economy but also made clear the need to remain vigilant to ‘flatten the curve’ of the COVID-19 spread:
“Nevada will likely be one of the hardest-hit states in the nation and suffer very high unemployment. It is imperative to flatten this curve so we can re-emerge in a safe, sustainable way.”
Wynn Resorts has outlined some of the steps they’ll take after they’re able to re-open in a ‘Health and Safety Plan’ document posted on the corporate website. Every employee entering the Wynn properties will be provided with a masked and required to wear it. They’ll also be enforcing the now familiar ‘social distancing’ measures by keeping guests at least 6 feet apart. The company will spread out restaurant tables and slot machines to further enforce the distancing mandate. In addition, Wynn Resorts employees have been given ‘clear instructions’ on how to respond to all presumed COVID-19 cases on property and to report all instances to the Southern Nevada Health District. They’ve also been instructed to contact a manager if they feel any symptoms consistent with the virus or if they observe a guest or co-worker experiencing symptoms.
Another key component of screening incoming guests–thermal cameras located at entrances. This will allow Wynn security to locate anyone showing a temperature in excess of 100 degrees and to test them again in a private area. If they continue to show a temperature in excess of 100 degrees they won’t be admitted to the property. There will also be plenty of reminders about proper health and hygiene practices for both employees and guests.
CEO Maddox is aware that there are some risks and even a incremental re-opening could prove problematic:
“I understand that if we incrementally reopen, we might have to pull back if a spike in cases occurs that jeopardizes our health care system capacity. However, the only way to cross this river is one stone at a time, and we need to put our feet in the water before it is too late.”
Ultimately, everyone in Nevada will be in the same boat as the state will monitor daily data and “marginally pull back or move forward” as necessary. Wynn Resorts has the experience of re-opening their properties in Macau following the mandated shutdown there due to COVID-19 earlier this year.