Vegas Casino Executives Discuss Reopening With Dealers in Masks

Thursday 16th April 2020

Nevada governor said no timetable in place for casinos' return

Casino executives from rival companies are informally discussing what Las Vegas will look like when one of the largest U.S. tourist destinations reopens to guests.

The deliberations have included potentially allowing small businesses off of the famous Strip to open first, so that locals could get back to work, according to people familiar with the talks. The executives have also discussed opening facilities nearby so that all casino workers -- and perhaps even tourists -- could get tested for the coronavirus.

The city, the largest gambling market in the U.S., would open its giant casinos with as little as one-third of their rooms available. Entrances would be limited, and guests' temperatures would be checked with noninvasive methods. Casino employees would wear masks and gloves, and gamblers would sit at least a chair apart at blackjack tables.

The moves are similar to what is already occurring in Macau, the world's largest gambling market, where casinos closed for 15 days in February and reopened under tight restrictions.

The companies are also discussing enhanced cleaning techniques, something unions have requested.

"We're asking the companies to have more cleaning everywhere -- the rooms, casino, special teams to work with new chemicals," Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of Culinary Workers Union Local 226, said last week. The casinos "have to have more people, so the people can have the area more clean."

While Nevada has dozens of casinos, a handful of operators, including MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd., dominate the action on the Las Vegas Strip.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, ordered all casinos in the state to close for 30 days in mid-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He extended that order until April 30, but on Tuesday said the state wasn't even close to ending the restrictions.

"This is not going to be a political decision for me, as for when to open," he said. "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."

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