According to various reports, Las Vegas officials and their casino operations are currently in discussions as to how and when to reopen the city. In most of these scenarios, there will be a significant reduction in the numbers of people – guests, gamblers and employees – who will be allowed in the businesses. The bottom line is, however, there is not set time frame for Sin City to reopen.
Reduced Capacities and Testing Facilities
Journalist Stephen Palmieri of Bloomberg brought up several of the ideas that have been under discussions between various levels of the government and the businesses and casinos that make up the bulk of Las Vegas’ economy. The discussions have been about using a measured approach, starting with smaller, locally oriented businesses that would allow a base of local work to be set up. Then there would be the move to open the casinos, but operations there would be greatly different than they were before.
In the casinos and hotels, only about a third of the available rooms in each business would be allowed to accept customers, allowing the custodial personnel to do adequate cleaning of the property. Fewer entrances would become the norm, once again to handle the proper cleaning but also to allow for every guest or customer entering the properties to have their temperatures checked.
The most important thing that officials and businesses might be looking at are adequate testing facilities for employees of the casinos. Palmieri notes that casino executives want these new testing outlets near their businesses so that all their employees (and any potentially infected guests and customers) could be quickly tested and, if in good health, cleared to head back to work.
Open Seats…On Purpose
One of the other areas under discussion is what to do on the actual casino floor with the customers and employees. An idea being floated would have dealers and floor staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as latex gloves and surgical masks in the performance of their duties. As to table games, there would be an enforced vacant seat in between each player at the table to help in social distancing.
These moves would be severely problematic, especially in relation to revenues. If Vegas were forced into such measures, the resulting take would be half of what would be the normal for the operations. These new measures, Palmieri notes, have already been implemented in Macau, but this writer has also learned that poker rooms have yet to be reopened in the Chinese gaming capitol.
The unions who work the casinos in Las Vegas also would like some new parameters put into action. Palmieri quotes Geoconda Arguello-Kline, the secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, as stating “We’re asking the companies to have more cleaning everywhere – the rooms, casino, special teams to work with new chemicals. (The casinos) have to have more people so the people can have the area more clean.”
Casino operations in Nevada have been shut down since the middle of March, when Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all hotels and casinos to shut down for the first time in history. Originally planned only to be for a two-week period, Sisolak extended that order until the end of April at the earliest and, with a skeletal plan scratched out by the federal government, will have to depend on his own instincts as to what to do. “This is not going to be a political decision for me, as for when to open,” Sisolak is quoted by Palmieri. “I don’t have an exact number. I’ll take a lot of advice from our medical folks and determine what’s in the best interest of keeping all Nevadans safe.”