Las Vegas casinos will be permitted to reopen on June 4 after more than two months of state-enforced closedown.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced a message of welcome to returning tourists but took efforts to highlight new protection against the spread of Covid-19.
“We’ve taken every precaution potential. I don’t think you’re going to find a safer place to come than Las Vegas by June 4, with the protocols that we’ve put in place, than the experiment that we’ve put in place, with the contact tracing that will be in place by that time,” Sisolak also said. “We’re encouraging guests to come and enjoy themselves and have a great time.”
Religious ceremonies with gatherings of up to 50 will be allowed again from May 29, the same day that gyms, shopping malls, cinemas and bars are also due to reopen. However, a contingency plan could see all venues closed again if there is another spike in infections.
Nightclubs, strip clubs and brothel houses (legal in the state of Nevada) will remain restricted for the foreseeable future.
Gambling will be supported with a range of new safety features, some of which was revealed recently in a document released by one of Las Vegas’s most prominent players.
A new reality for those visiting Las Vegas when the casinos reopened, the seven-point plan reveals that Plexiglas barriers at gaming tables and hand washing stations on the casino floors will become official as punters start to return.
“Our resources will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only okay, it’s critically essential,” said MGM’s acting president and CEO, Bill Hornbuckle. “We will continue giving the hospitality experiences we are known for, but we must do so carefully.”
Some are cautioning that this is a high-stakes gambit for the city, where the atmosphere is everything and the local economy is so massively reliant on a constant flow of tourist dollars.
Almost 43 million people toured Las Vegas last year, but that number has now decreased, and the unemployment rate in Nevada has now touched 28.2 per cent.
But for now, the party looks like it will be a silenced affair for some time yet, and it could be some moment before Sin City starts to live up to its name once more.