Despite the continued increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 across the States of America, many places have decided to reopen many of their businesses. This includes Las Vegas, which closed for the first time ever in mid-March and has exploded to life this weekend. But what does the “new Las Vegas” look like? Business Insider took their cameras inside The Bellagio for a rare look at what is now the “new normal” – or at least the “new normal” for right now.
Hand Washing Stations on Floor and Plenty of Hand Sanitizer
Thursday marked the “reopening” of Las Vegas and there were plenty of changes on the grounds of one of Las Vegas’ most impressive casinos. Business Insider’s Madeline Stone took a tour of the grounds and found many things that have changed inside the casino. All of them have been put into place because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the attempts by Vegas casinos to keep any possible contamination at bay.
One thing that has been particularly surprising is the presence of hand washing stations on the floor of the casino itself. This is something that would normally be done in private – or at least in the restroom facilities – but, with the virus outbreak, Bellagio officials felt was necessary to have available these stations. This is not the only consideration that The Bellagio, per the direction of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Governor Steve Sisolak, is making towards preventing the spread of the virus.
The table games, particularly blackjack and craps, have introduced plexiglass shielding in between the limited number of players that can be seated. For blackjack, the limit is three players that can take part and four for craps and The Bellagio is making sure that there is a physical barrier to separate them. The kicker is the poker room, where some of the previous restrictions have already begun to fall by the wayside.
Vegas Poker Rooms Kick Numbers up to Five, if Playing at All
The poker rooms in Las Vegas aren’t exactly rushing back into action, unfortunately. Only a handful of them – The Venetian, The Orleans and South Point – have decided to spread poker games, with many taking a “wait and see” approach. But it didn’t take long for one of the guidelines put into place by the NGCB to get tossed to the wayside.
First it was South Point who got approved to move from the previous limit of four players up to five and, soon after, both The Venetian and The Orleans were granted the same permissions. The reasoning for this was simple – the four-handed game was hurting the poker rooms that were open because players weren’t playing. For some reason, people will not play a four-handed game, but that extra person seemed to make a difference as those poker rooms that were open were abuzz with activity.
So why is Las Vegas going to these extreme measures (we didn’t even get into the social distancing guidelines, the virtual check-in and keys being employed and the pools, which used to be one of the greatest draws about Las Vegas’ daytime activities)? Because they’re only going to get one shot at this. If Las Vegas can restart activities on a somewhat normal basis, then they will probably return quickly from the nearly three-month shutdown. If there is a rise in the number of infections or, even worse, a second shutdown, it could doom some of the staples of Las Vegas and put a serious impact on games such as poker.
For now, the reopening of Las Vegas seems to have gone off rather well. The real test, however, will be seen in travel to the city and the gaming activity, which for now will be carried by the locals and those who have no issue with travel. If Las Vegas can reach August without any serious issues, then the outlook is bright for the return of Las Vegas to its previous prominence.