Target for Nevada Casinos Reopening Set for June 4
Las Vegas prepares for tourists
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has announced June 4 as the target date for the state’s casinos to reopen, including the Las Vegas Strip.
According to media reports, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) will convene Tuesday with health officials to review safety and sanitation protocols proposed by casino resorts. The NGCB must provide its approval before the industry can resume operations.
The announcement, made on Friday afternoon, comes 78 days after Gov. Sisolak ordered Nevada casinos to shut down to combat the spread of COVID-19, following similar action by more than ten other governors.
Gov. Sisolak had originally ordered all casinos and other non-essential businesses in Nevada to close for 30 days, with effect from March 18. He later extended the closures until April 30.
Nevada’s unemployment rate reached record highs during the casino closure period. Las Vegas was among the areas hardest hit by the pandemic in the U.S., with some 342,000 people out of a job.According to the Associated Press, the leisure and hospitality industry in Nevada directly employs one in every four workers. Data from the Nevada Resort Association shows that it has an economic output of about US$68 billion in the state.
Gov. Silolak’s statement has been welcomed by many of Nevada’s major industry representatives. The president and CEO of the Nevada Resort Association, Virginia Valentina, described it as “fantastic news”. She added: “Our members have spent more than two months preparing for this day […] [They] are excited to show off the enhancements they’ve made that preserve the experience while ensuring the well-being of our employees and visitors. We’re ready to go back.”
Wynn Resorts Ltd spokesman Michael Weaver applauded the decision to target June 4 for reopening, praising Gov. Sisolak’s “careful, science-based approach to containing the virus.”
Casinos have already reopened in 12 other states in the past days, including ones in South Dakota, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
Sin City raring to go
Major casino operators in Las Vegas also reacted positively to the news. Caesars Entertainment Corporation spokesman Richard Broom said the company was “excited to welcome back guests and team members with enhanced health and safety protocols in compliance with state directives.” Boyd Gaming Corporation spokesman David Strow commented: “It’s been a long two months for everyone in the state, but we’re ready to go back to business in Nevada.”
MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Boyd Gaming have already started testing their Las Vegas staff for coronavirus ahead of their return to work.