Casinos remain closed in the state of Nevada as the state continues to try to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants inside of the casinos will be allowed to reopen soon, but they will be forced to follow strict guidelines.
Nevada has developed a COVID-19 recovery plan, and there are different phases that are present as a part of this plan. Governor Steve Sisolak has been working on this plan for weeks, and he has been consulting with state and local health officials.
Casino restaurants in Nevada are eligible to reopen during Phase One of the recovery plan, but they will not be able to operate under normal circumstances. Several restaurants and casino owners fear that their business may not even open at all, as the guidelines are too strict.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) sent out a notice to all casinos on Thursday to let them know that their inside restaurants are allowed to reopen during Phase One. They also made the casinos and restaurants aware of the many guidelines and regulations that must be followed.
There are four phases in the “Roadmap to Recovery” plan outlined by Sisolak, and it’s unclear just how fast the state can navigate through each phase. All restaurants in the state are allowed to offer dine-in service during phase one as long as they follow the guidelines set forth by the state.
The main rule that must be followed is that restaurants must practice social distancing in their establishment. This goes for both customers and employees, and this will be monitored by several different agencies.
All of the tables within the restaurant must be kept at least six feet apart, and bar tops and the bar area must remain closed. Restaurants must allow just 50 percent of their normal occupancy inside of the establishment at any one time.
While these rules apply to all dine-in restaurants in the state, there are specific regulations that apply to casino restaurants. Each casino must submit a detailed plan to the Nevada Gaming Control Board that will outline how patrons will reach the dining area without touching the casino floor.
Casinos must also submit a plan as to how patrons will reach the restrooms located in the casino while still staying off of the casino floor. There are very few casino restaurants with internal bathrooms, as most casinos want their patrons to travel across the casino floor to use the restroom.
Casinos are hopeful that patrons will be persuaded to hit up a slot machine or gamble at a table before heading back to the restaurant. Now, casinos that don’t have internal restrooms in their restaurants will be at a severe disadvantage when it comes to reopening.
The NGCB is also asking that each casino develop a plan to ensure that patrons are not congregating outside while waiting to enter the restaurant. This specific regulation only applies to restaurants in a county with a population of 100,000 people or more.
The restroom issue and the issue of not allowing patrons to congregate outside of the facility will make it difficult for casino restaurants to reopen. There are several casinos that are currently discussing plans and trying to find a way to open, but they are finding the process to be difficult.
There is a chance that the state could enter Phase Two by next weekend, but it is unclear when casinos will be allowed to reopen. Several major casinos have submitted reopening plans to the NGCB and Governor Sisolak, but they have yet to receive the green light.