The Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, was quoted on Friday by multiple media outlets as saying June 4 was a target date for the state’s casinos – including those of the Las Vegas Strip (pictured in a file photo) in the state’s gaming hub – to reopen.
According to media reports, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with health officials to review safety and sanitation protocols that casino resorts plan to implement. The board must provide its approval for the opening of the industry.
Mr Sisolak had initially ordered all casinos and other non-essential businesses in the state to close for 30 days with effect from March 18. He extended that instruction to run until April 30, and subsequently had said there was no specific date for when non-essential businesses might be allowed to reopen.
Virginia Valentine, president and chief executive of the Nevada Resort Association, was quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Saturday as saying Mr Sisolak’s announcement about a possible June 4 restart was “fantastic news” for Nevada’s gaming industry.
But a story carried on Sunday by the same news outlet cited several restaurateurs with venues near the Las Vegas Strip as saying they thought it might be September – around the time of autumn convention season – before tourists returned to Las Vegas in volume.
In late April Moody’s Investors Service Inc said in a report focused on U.S. gaming markets that it thought casino customers would be “slow to return” even after gaming properties resume operations.
“It will likely take some time before companies will be able to ramp back up to normal business levels,” said at the time the ratings agency.
Bloomberg said in a Saturday report on the Nevada governor’s tentative reopening plan, that a March study by the Brookings Institution flagged Las Vegas as one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., with some 342,000 people, or one-third of the workforce, out of a job.
A number of casino operators in Nevada has already taken steps to prepare for reopening. Wynn Resorts Ltd – parent of Macau operator Wynn Macau Ltd – released a 23-page paper last month detailing the measures it would put in place, including taking temperatures of the guests at doors and handing out protective face masks to new arrivals.
On May 12 MGM Resorts International – parent of Macau operator MGM China Holdings Ltd – issued a “health and safety plan” for resort reopening. It included measures regarding heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and overall air quality, as well as temperature checks on guests and mandatory wearing of face masks for employees and the “strong encouragement” of customers to do the same.
In a May 19 press release MGM Resorts said that market wide in Las Vegas, gaming and resort properties had linked with University Medical Center, the Culinary Health Fund and the Las Vegas Convention Center to provide Covid-19 testing for gaming employees prior to their return to work.
The testing was to be conducted at the convention facility as properties reopened, added the announcement.
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