Whether you see Las Vegas as a place to kick back and relax or to explore your hedonistic side, there’s no doubt it’s a casino paradise. Disneyland for adults is a fair description of the lights and glamor of Vegas. However, like the real Disneyland, it’s hardly been business as usual at the casino resorts in Las Vegas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As cities emerge from lockdowns and stay-at-home measures caused by the global coronavirus crisis, Vegas is looking for a return to normality. This is being driven by the #VegasSmart initiative, which is going to great lengths to tell the world the city, its casinos, its shows, and everything else, is open for business.
Open for business, provided you wear a mask.
In a city famed for breaking the rules, placing one particularly clear restriction on visitors seems out of sync with the Vegas ethos. However, it is clear the city needs to embrace the idea that protecting patrons from further COVID-19 outbreaks is part of getting back to normal.
Think of it like this… the energy, lights, fun, and entertainment of Vegas remain the same, but wearing a mask or other facial covering is mandatory. Of course, most people will probably accept that new reality. Still, authorities in the city want to make sure everyone knows the rules to avoid any confusion.
To help push the cause, an event was held at McCarran International Airport at the end of June. The aim was to inform incoming passengers about the new mask-wearing rules. Of course, this was a decent idea considering most of Vegas’ income is generated by inbound tourists. A little public awareness at the airport looks like a good plan.
Naturally, this public awareness event took on a distinctly Las Vegas look. Local entertainers were on hand to pass out Las Vegas branded facial covers to people claiming their baggage at Terminal 1. It’s a safety-first message that was reaching out to tourists directly. It was a nice touch to show Vegas is not only committed to returning to normal following COVID-19, but to also protecting visitors and residents.
And that’s what Vegas Smart is all about. It is informing visitors and locals to stay smart in terms of social distancing, washing hands, and mask-wearing. This is especially being emphasized for certain activities, such as dining, shows, attractions, and other public events. The initiative is promoting the idea people need to be aware of their surroundings and those around them.
“We want our visitors to feel confident that coming to Las Vegas is still a fun and healthy experience. We know how much our visitors miss Vegas, and we want to welcome them back to enjoy the destination as safely as possible,” said Steve Hill, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “The mask mandate is a necessary and smart step on behalf of Nevada Governor Sisolak to make sure we can continue to share the world-class experiences you only find in Las Vegas.”
How is Vegas Looking Post Coronavirus?
There is evidence to show Las Vegas has weathered the COVID-19 crisis fairly well. Certainly, there does not seem to be the same amount of businesses failing as in other cities. More importantly, new venues have continued to open during the pandemic. With that in mind, what does the new normal look like for the city?
Casinos and Resorts
All resorts are re-opening in limited capacities that usually only accept reservations. Each have taken individual measures to ensure the safety of patrons. For example, the Bellagio, CityCenter, Excalibur, Delano, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and MGM Grand have a seven-step plan in place. This plan involves:
- Screening, temperature checks, and employee training
- Mandatory wearing of masks and PPE
- Social distancing measures
- Handwashing protocol with hand sanitizing stations
- Heating, aircon, and ventilation measures
- Incident response protocols
- Digital innovations for contactless interactions
As we move towards the peak of summer, pools are open and welcoming visitors. Have some fun in the sun but be aware that most pools now require reservation of lounge chairs, daybeds, or cabanas in advance. You’re unlikely to be able to walk into a pool of the Strip. Among the pools reopening at WET REPUBLIC Ultra Pool at MGM Grand and LIQUID Pool Lounge at ARIA Resort & Casino.
Attractions are Opening
Many of the city’s most famed single attractions are also opening their doors for the first time in months. For example, the High Roller Observation Wheel at the LINQ Promenade is now open. This is the world’s tallest observation wheel and is a highlight of the Vegas Strip. If thrills and high-octane attractions are your thing, Slotzilla is also open for business. This a zipline that allows you to “fly” over the people on Fremont Street.
When Should You Wear a Mask?
Remember, it is mandatory to wear a face mask under all the following circumstances:
- “When patronizing businesses or interacting with others in any generally publicly accessible space both indoors and outdoors
- Inside of, or standing in line waiting to enter, any indoor public space.
- While outside in a public space when 6 feet of social distancing from those not in your same household isn’t possible.”
Public or private transportation and paratransit:
- “While waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit.
- While riding in taxis, private car services, monorails, trams and rideshares like Uber and Lyft.
- While driving or operating any form of transportation or paratransit when passengers not in your same household are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are still strongly recommended.”