Many things are changing as casinos reopen during the COVID pandemic. The most important change right now is that you are going to need to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever you are inside a public area of the building. That means you need to be wearing it when in the casino, in the lobby, walking down the hotel hallway, in a public bathroom, at bars and restaurants, etc. That is a statewide mandate from Gov. Sisolak. The mandate also include public spaces outdoors where six feet of social distancing can be observed. That means you should wear it whenever you head out since you can’t guarantee that you’ll have six feet of space when walking down the Strip or on Fremont Street. The mandate goes a step further than what MGM and Caesars had already put into place require mask use, but only in a few areas.
There are limited exceptions for children 9 and under, individuals where wearing a mask would be a health or safety risk, when dining and drinking and when exercising or doing socially distanced recreational activities outside.
The new mask mandate actually simplifies a number of things. As a general rule, if you are staying at a resort you should be wearing a masks unless you are in your room with family.
If you are planning a trip, you should check with your hotel to see what is open and what protocols they have in place. MGM has a Resort Reopening Information page where you can get specifics for each of their resorts. The Venetian has an Open at The Venetian page. Caesars has Las Vegas is Open page where they have updates about what is and isn’t open.
What to expect in the Casino
Everyone in the casino should be wearing a mask. Social distancing is expected. Casino capacity will be limited to 50%.
Every other slot machine will be turned off to allow for distance. Table game seating will be reduced by about 50%. That means 3 people at a blackjack or carnival game type table, 4 at roulette and 6 at craps.
Also, friends won’t be permitted to stand behind you and watch. I’m guessing that means that a companion can’t sit next to you either.
Slot machines will be sanitized on a regular basis throughout the day and hand sanitizer will be offered to players entering a table game.
Some table game regulations will be adjusted so that the players do not touch the cards. Dice and chips will be sanitized and cards switched out more frequently.
You can see the MGM Seven-Point Safety Plan here and the Caesars Health and Safety plan here. Although I have focused on MGM and Caesars, most casinos are following similar measures. Wynn has posted their our Health and Sanitation measures for Wynn and Encore. The Venetian also has a Venetian Clean page.
What to expect in the Hotel
Lobbies have been adjusted or marked for social distancing. Mask will be required (remember you need to be wearing a mask to enter the building). Most resorts are trying to go as contactless as possible. Use of self service and mobile check in is encouraged. MGM gives you the option to use their MGM Resorts app to check in, check out, and use as your digital room key so you don’t even need a key card. I used my phone as my room key at Park MGM earlier this year and it was very convenient.
Guest Room elevators will post a limited capacity. This will vary from hotel to hotel.
Valet service has been discontinued, but self-parking is now free.
If you check your bags with the bell desk or order room service, they will do contactless delivery, leaving your items at your door for you.
Housekeeping may be limited. Hotel staff will not enter your room while it is occupied.
Restaurants and Bars. Dining and Drinking.
Tables and barstools will be spaced further apart and they will be operating at limited capacity. Buffets are closed.
Reservations will be highly encouraged at the restaurants that are open due to the limited capacity. Many will offer digital menus that you can read our tablet or phone instead of printed menus. Cashless payment options will be encouraged and some restaurants will allow you to do contactless payments with your phone. Masks should still be worn unless you are eating/drinking, but I expect this will be a bit more of a gray area.
Entertainment and Attractions
As a general rule, entertainment venues are closed.
Cirque du Soleil just filed for bankruptcy if that helps give you an idea of how bad things are for the entertainment industry.
Some pools are opening. They will still require social distancing. Most will require a mask when not in the water.
Most spas are closed. Qua at Caesars Palace is the only spa that I am aware of that is now open. Some salons are opening with limited services.
Buses, cabs and rideshare services are running. They, like everywhere else, will require you to wear a mask. For cabs and rideshare, passengers will only be permitted in the back seat(s). Keep that in mind if you need to get three or more people from one place to another.
If you are flying in, you will be expected to wear a mask while in the airport. As far as I know, all airlines already require you to wear a mask during the flight, so you should already be wearing one. I have noticed that a number of airports around the country do not have the same mask requirement in their terminals.
Players Clubs like Mlife and Caesars Rewards have extended players’ tier statuses as well as slot point expiration dates. I will cover that a bit in more in my next post. Until then, please be as safe as you can.