Barriers between slots and social distancing markers on floors telling guests where they should stand will greet revelers returning to Las Vegas casinos as they reopen post coronavirus shutdown.
Popular gambling haunts such as Caesars, MGM, Treasure Island, The Venetian and Palazzo have announced their rigorous new health procedures as they work with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to establish a reopening date, with many hoping to welcome back guests by June.
In preparation, the El Cortez casino and hotel in downtown Las Vegas has already installed acrylic barriers separating slot machine players from those beside them, while other electronic slot machines have been moved to keep more distance between crowds.
Blackjack tables have also installed barriers to protect staff behind a wall of Plexiglas and on floors, markers have been introduced to show where players at a craps table should stand to maintain social distancing.
Signs have been places around the casino to remind visitors about the best ways to stay safe.
An acrylic gaming barrier is installed between electronic slot machines to protect people from the coronavirus at the El Cortez hotel and casino on Wednesday. Las Vegas casinos remain closed but are preparing safety measures against the spread of coronavirus after Nevada began lifting its shutdown measures across the state from last Saturday, May 8
Acrylic barriers will have been installed between players at a gaming table, such as the one seen here at the El Cortez Hotel and Casino
Marker on the floor show where players should stand for social distancing at a craps table at the El Cortez casino as it remains shuttered due to the coronavirus Wednesday
A sign to remind people of coronavirus safety measures is on display at the El Cortez hotel and casino. As Las Vegas casinos prepare to reopen post shutdown they are installing features to protect staff and guests from coronavirus
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced the state would begin phase one of reopening last Saturday, May 9, but casinos have remained closed as preparations are put in place to safeguard guests and staff from the spread of the virus.
The NGCB requires that casino companies outline their safety measures before they reopen and casino workers demonstrated Tuesday over their concerns about transparency regarding the measures before they return to work.
On Tuesday, MGM International announced that it would reopen with a maximum of 25 percent capacity for guests as part of a seven-point health and safety plan that includes increased sanitation, social distancing and contactless check-in at hotels.
There will be no more buffet-style meals, fewer players at card tables and digital room keys in hotels, according to the plan.
Plexiglas barriers and hand-washing stations will be introduced to the casino floor, as well as physical distancing at slot machines and touchless ticketing for entertainment shows.
‘Employees will discourage players from standing (except Craps) and guests will be asked not to stand beside or behind players,’ the MGM Resorts reopening plan states.
‘Guests will no longer need to wait in line, if they so choose. Guests can confirm their arrival time, add payments and verify their ID [using their smart phones] all before setting foot in the lobby.’
The company hopes to reopen its casinos by early June.
As well as acrylic barriers between players, staff will also stand behind barriers and many casinos are requiring testing for their workers before they return to work. Pictured is a gaming table at the El Cortez casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday
Electronic slot machines have been spread apart to keep social distancing between gamblers in the El Cortez casino
Signs dotted around the El Cortez casino remind guests of the best practices to prevent against the spread of coronavirus
On Monday, Las Vegas Sands Corp. which own The Venetian and Palazzo revealed plans to reopen in June, announcing that they are to test all staff and their family members over 13 years old for coronavirus before they return to work.
They also pledged to continue pay and benefits for staff members and emergency pay for several partner restaurants until that time.
The casinos have issued a safety protocol for reopening that includes more than 800 guidelines, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
An antibody test to determine whether a staff member had coronavirus but has recovered is also being offered free of charge but is not mandatory.
Workers are pictured creating acrylic barriers that will be used in Las Vegas casinos to separate guests at slots and craps tables
From left, Patrick Bergmann, Scott Proctor and Logan Perdelwitz prepare acrylic barriers for delivery to a casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The barriers are being introduced as part of new safety measures against the spread of coronavirus
An employee shows acrylic barriers being made at Screaming Images in Las Vegas on Tuesday. The company is making acrylic barriers for casinos to use to protect workers and patrons from the spread of the coronavirus
The Venetian will have a team of emergency medical technicians – 25 EMTS in total – available 24 hours, on call if staff are notified of a suspected case of coronavirus, according to their reopening guidelines.
Sands Corp added that thermal cameras will be installed at every resort entry point to check temperatures of both staff and guests.
Those who have a temperature over 100.4 degrees will undergo a secondary screening and if they still show a high fever, they will ‘undergo further medical assessment and be directed to appropriate medical care’.
Any suite linked to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be taken out of service for cleaning until deemed safe again.
‘Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our Team Members and visitors,’ said a statement from the company.
‘We are working hard to be as prepared as possible for the day we welcome our guests.’
Treasure Island Las Vegas is looking to reopen even sooner with bookings being taken from May 22 as of Tuesday. According to KTNV, the open date is still subject to change.
A spokesperson for the company said employees will have expanded training on COVID-19 and prevention, and that the property will display signage about the health and safety guidelines in place.
Caesars Entertainment also released plans Monday to reopen their Vegas properties in a phased approach and will require workers to undergo a health screening before returning to work.
The company’s casinos will place a limit on table game spots and slot machines to ensure social distancing can be maintained and non-gaming offerings, including entertainment, restaurants and bars, will have a phased reopening with limited capacity.
Caesars said that spaces where guests or employees queue, including check-in, elevator lobbies, taxi lines, employee break rooms and cafeterias, will be clearly marked for appropriate social distancing and that all team members will be required to wear a mask at work.
Guests will also be strongly encouraged to wear masks which will be provided by the company.
‘We look forward to welcoming our guests and team members back to our properties as soon as it is appropriate to do so,’ Tony Rodio, Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, said in a statement released Monday.
‘We are implementing new protocols focused on the wellbeing of our team members, guests and communities to create environments with high standards of sanitization and physical distancing practices. We are working closely with public health authorities, gaming regulators and infectious disease specialists to design our plan.’
Despite the protocols laid out by the casinos, hundreds of workers took to the Las Vegas Strip on Tuesday to voice concerns over what they say is a lack of transparency from casino companies about the safety measures being taken to reopen.
According to KTNV, casino and restaurant workers took part in a caravan demonstration as they drove down the Strip together calling for more information before they returned to work.
‘I have asthma, so I’m more at risk,’ said Juston Larsen, a culinary worker.
‘We need to go back to work feeling safe, and we have coworkers that are scared to go back to work because they don’t feel safe yet.’
A woman adjusts her mask as she takes part with members of a Culinary Union 226 caravan down Las Vegas Strip Tuesday calling on casinos to share re-opening plans and enforce strong protections for workers amid the coronavirus pandemic
The Culinary Union hosted a car caravan on the Las Vegas Strip Tuesday demanding casino companies share their full re-opening plans and calling for greater transparency before they return to work. Casinos hope to begin reopening in early June
Casinos in Las Vegas have been closed since mid-March when Governor Sisolak ordered all non-essential businesses to close in an attempt to quell the spread of the coronavirus.
On Saturday, Phase One of Nevada’s ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ officially commenced, with dine-in restaurants, retail stores, hairdressers and nail salons all allowed to open for the first time seven weeks.
News of casino reopenings in the near future comes after a petition was launched for the recall of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman over her criticism of the shutdown. The organizers branded her a ‘puppet for casino owners and a threat to public safety’.
Professional poker player Doug Polk submitted filings with the location election authority last week to circulate a recall petition against the independent politician, according to The Center Sqaure.
The mayor has previously accepted campaign donations from The Las Vegas Sands Corp, South Point Hotel & Casino, the Boyd Gaming Corporation and the Palace Station Hotel & Casino.
She had issued public pleas for Sisolak to end the statewide shutdown of casinos and non-essential businesses, which she called ‘total insanity’ that was ‘killing Las Vegas’.
In an interview on CNN last month, she said that ‘viruses for years have been here’ and suggested that Las Vegas residents become ‘a control group’ to see how lifting closures and some restrictions would affect the city.
She also claimed it was not her job as mayor to order that businesses close because of the coronavirus stating, ‘right now we’re in a crisis health-wise, and so for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That’s their job, that’s not the mayor’s job’.
State and local officials called the remarks ‘reckless’ and ‘an embarrassment’.
Goodman last year was overwhelmingly elected to a third and final term as mayor.
The recall committee has until August 4 to collect 6,745 signatures on the petition.
To date, 6,476 people in Nevada have been confirmed with having contracted the virus, with 331 deaths.
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