The Las Vegas Strip is gradually awakening after a nearly 80-day slumber on account of this coronavirus crisis. Canada TODAY
LAS VEGAS – Caesar is wearing a golden mask in the entry to his namesake casino.
There’s a giant hand-washing channel on the casino floor in the luxe Bellagio.
Dancing traders at the D Las Vegas wear face guards.
The coronavirus catastrophe has shifted plenty of stuff about this gambling and entertainment funds, but crucial Vegas elements stay the similarly.
Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO of casino giant MGM Resorts, proprietor of New York-New York, Bellagio and other Vegas possessions, said he’ll consider reopening week a victory if people"go home and say, ‘While it had been distinct, it was secure, it had been entertaining, and it’s nevertheless the Vegas I am aware. ‘ "
Here’s a glance at exactly what’s changed and what hasn’t:
7 things that have changed – for now, partially
1. Gambling: In the casino equivalent of blocking middle seats on a plane, you’ll find fewer chairs at the blackjack, roulette and poker tables and fewer places to stand around the craps table. The new limits per table: three players at blackjack, four at roulette and poker and six at craps. Dealers and other employees are required to wear masks or face shields, per gaming authority reopening regulations. Masks are mostly optional but strongly encouraged for guests. MGM Resorts has gone so far as to install plexiglass partitions at its tables, and, in some cases, bar-top video poker machines. Caesars requires that gamblers wear masks at table games. Every other slot machine is generally turned off and lacks a chair in the name of social distancing. Casino capacity is initially limited to 50% under new state gaming regulations. There are signs everywhere reminding people about safety protocols, and MGM has new hand-cleaning stations at Bellagio and New York-New York.
The Caesar statue at the entrance to Caesars Palace sports a gold mask as the hotel casinos reopen after a 2 1/2-month shutdown. (Photo: Caesars Palace)
2. Hotel check-in: You’ll have your temperature checked before you obtain in line under reopening requirements imposed by gaming authorities. Hotels use a variety of methods, including contactless and infrared thermometers. New York-New York has EMTs stationed at the check-in line. At Caesars Palace, you walk through a machine resembling a metal detector that captures your temperature from three different positions.
What happens if you have a fever? You’ll be given time to cool down before being tested again. Those with a fever will be evaluated by a medical professional and may not be able to check in.
The D Las Vegas on Fremont Street downtown checked all visitors’ temperaturesduring reopening week, but resort owner Derek Stevens stated he wasn’t sure how long that would go on. I had my temperature taken seven times during a one-night stay as I went in and out of the place when it reopened Wednesday.
A sign in the lobby of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas announces the hotel’s new temperature check policy. (Photo: Dawn Gilbertson, Canada TODAY)
3. Hotel choices: Your favorite hotel might not be open. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, which operate the most casino-hotels on the Strip, each has only a few of its hotels open as they slowly ramp up their businesses after the 2-month shutdown. Caesars reopened Caesars Palace, Flamingo and Harrah’s. It has not announced reopening dates for its other casino hotels, which include Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Bally’s and the Linq. MGM Resorts debuted with Bellagio, New York-New York and MGM Grand, though only at 30% to 35% capacity for hotel guests and plans to reopen Excalibur on Thursday. Still locked: Aria, the Mirage, Park MGM, Mandalay Bay, Luxor and others. Hotels are taking a similar phased approach with their restaurants, and many are still locked.
4. Buffets: The all-you-can eat extravaganzas, a Vegas staple, have not reopened, and it’s unclear what they will be like when they do. Buffets are so popular Caesars Entertainment created a buffet pass a decade ago that allows visitors to pay one amount and visit several in one stay. The coronavirus crisis has already claimed the buffet restaurants Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes.
5. Things to do: Hotel pools are open to reduced capacity, and a few attractions, including the High Roller observation wheel, Bellagio fountains and New York-New York roller coaster, have resumed. Las Vegas’ marquee attractions, such as its trademark shows, night clubs and raucous adult-only pool parties, haven’t as collecting in groups remains illegal.
6. Parking charges: Free hotel parking, a hallmark of Las Vegas before 2016 once MGM Resorts began a trend with the addition of charges for valet and self-parking, is back. Caesars trumpets free parking electronic billboards around the Strip, and MGM simplifies its new coverage, also. (A few resorts, such as Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and Wynn and Encore, removed parking prices prior to the catastrophe to stick out in the contest.)
The coverage, among several measures developed to woo people back to Vegas, applies just to self-parking because valet parking isn’t offered. Before the catastrophe, self-parking was as large as $18 and valet parking was $30 per night at luxury hotels like Bellagio.
Harrah’s touts free parking, a measure many hotel-casinos in Las Vegas are carrying because they reopen after coronavirus closures. (Photo: Dawn Gilbertson, Canada TODAY)
The free parking enticed Las Vegas instructor Colleen Vosicky straight back into the Strip on Thursday to see the Bellagio fountain show and see the resort’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. They’re just two of her favourite things about Las Vegas, but she stopped going when parking prices became the standard.
The major question: How long will complimentary passengers last?
MGM is noncommittal on its own website.
"We’re implementing free self-parking now as a way to welcome back guests," it states. "We don’t have a deadline regarding future changes or plans."
7. Las Vegas’ sales pitch: Las Vegas tweaked its enchanting, oft-repeated"What happens here, stays here" marketing motto in January prior to the coronavirus catastrophe began. The motto:"What happens here, only happens here."
The shutdown shelved that effort, and tourism police introduced a toned-down glance of Vegas at a brand new TV spot inviting visitors back.
Vegas being Vegas, each of the pitches aren’t squeaky clean.
"Think dirty ideas, but keep your hands clean," screams one electronic message on the Strip.
4 things coronavirus hasn’t changed about Las Vegas
1. Resort prices: The pesky surcharges, which may top $45 or $50 per night with taxation at Bellagio and Caesars Palace, stay. The hotel fee almost doubled the amount of my deal $30 room in the D Las Vegas downtown as it reopened Wednesday. The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas even intends to increase its own hotel fee, from $44.22 to $51.02, in January. 1 noteworthy exception: the Sahara Las Vegas, previously the SLS, is waiving its $37.95 hotel fee for bookings booked in June for stays through May 2021.
2. Free beverages and frivolity abound: The cocktail machines use masks, but free beverages still predominate on many casino flooring 24 hours each day. Heading out for a morning walkin? You’ll still see somebody swilling a beer or bloody mary in a slot machine in 6 a.m. Las Vegas remains a round-the-clock playground where folks go to escape. The opening week audiences have been mild, the Strip still mainly abandoned, but there have been indications of the normal Vegas since the weekend approached. Visitors from Southern California lugged coolers of booze in their automobiles to their chambers, and a bachelorette wearing a veil and sash toted a giant souvenir glass full of one of these frozen slushy beverages sold everywhere.
Las Vegas reopened in time for Toni Reddix, in veil, to go to for the bachelorette party. The team flew from South Carolina on Friday and remained at Caesars Palace. (Photo: Dawn Gilbertson, Canada TODAY)
3. Smoking: Casinos stay among the few public areas it is still possible to light up indoors, and coronavirus hasn’t changed that. How can you smoke with a mask on, you ask? Masks are only encouraged, not mandatory, in Las Vegas casinos, and many visitors went without during reopening week. An employee handing out masks with a tong at one entrance to Caesars Palace estimated that 80% of visitors weren’t sporting masks throughout reopening weekend.
4. Hefty ATM prices: Need money to bet? Las Vegas casino ATMs still charge $7.99 or $8.99 to withdraw your cash.