Casinos in the city of Las Vegas have been closed for a span of 78 days, but that all came to an end on Thursday morning. Customers started lining up outside of several casinos throughout the city on Wednesday night in an effort to be among the first in the door on Thursday.
Even though casinos have been given the green light to reopen their doors to customers, there are several health and safety protocols in effect. Casinos have all had to submit a reopening plan to the gaming commission before they were able to accept any customers.
Gaming floor capacity is limited to just 50 percent of the normal amount, and several resorts have decided to keep a large section of their property closed off to customers. Long lines are expected outside of the venues, and the casinos have been working to create plans to keep proper social distancing.
Employees at all of the casinos that are back open must wear masks, and some of them have chosen to wear shields. Customers are not required to wear masks, but casinos are required to provide them to any customer that wishes to wear one.
The table games are all fitted with plexiglass dividers that separate the players from the dealer. Casinos will be forced to increase the amount of time that they spend cleaning the facility, and some slot machines have been turned off to create spacing.
Despite all of the new protocols in place, patrons are expressing real excitement to return to their favorite casinos. The casino industry will now be tasked with helping the state recover from the financial fallout that came with the pandemic.
Even though Governor Steve Sisolak has allowed all casinos to reopen, some resorts will remain closed for the time being. Several of the leaders in the industry will be reopening a small number of casinos at one time to ensure that their protocols are effective.
Casinos Urging Players to Return
Caesars and MGM Resorts are two of the biggest companies on the Las Vegas Strip, and they have gotten creative to attract customers. Both companies have waived the parking fees normally associated with their resorts, and they are also hoping that tourists start to return to the city.
Derek Stevens, owner of The D, recently purchased 1,000 airline tickets and is giving them out to customers who fly to Vegas to visit his establishment. Other casinos are trying to reopen while undergoing some extra cleaning after looting and rioting took place in the city over the past weekend.
Protests Turning Violent in Vegas
Protests have been occurring all over the United States in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, an African American man that was killed by police. A large majority of these protests have remained peaceful, but that hasn’t been the case in Las Vegas.
There were dozens of police officers that were injured over the weekend while trying to break up these protests, and one officer lost his life. Officer Shay Mikalonis was shot outside of Circus Hotel and Casino while trying to apprehend a protester that was out of hand.
Mikalonis is reportedly still in critical condition as of Thursday morning, but reports are that he is starting to recover. Residents of Las Vegas held a vigil for him outside of the hospital on Tuesday night.
Sisolak was forced to call out the Nevada National Guard, and they have been assigned to the Las Vegas area. Additional police presence is expected to remain in the city throughout the weekend, and that will add extra traffic to the casinos reopening.