The lights are back on in Las Vegas, and tourists are already rushing into casinos despite the coronavirus pandemic. Everything was back up and running on Thursday after casinos were closed for almost 80 days to slow the spread. Video of tourists packed into a casino, ignoring social distancing guidelines and not wearing masks, surfaced on Twitter Saturday and quickly went viral with more than 5.7 million views.
Nevada gambling officials released a list of rules for casinos to follow during the coronavirus pandemic, but the video tweeted by Los Angeles Times reporter Arash Markazi highlighted how hard it will be to follow these. The rules include guests having their temperature taken as they enter and every property needs medical crews on-site 24/7, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. There also have to be areas on-site where guests can get a coronavirus test.
Las Vegas is officially back. pic.twitter.com/EI3nXs2e5w— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 6, 2020
Casinos are also required to have all employees wearing masks. The Gambling Control Board also ordered properties to have masks available for guests and they should be encouraged to wear them. Markazi's viral video showed almost no one wearing a mask at the casino he visited. Casinos also had to cut occupancy in gambling areas by half, meaning tourists will not be able to gamble with their loved-ones right by their side at the table. Resorts also have to keep disinfecting gambling machines and chairs more often than before, and dealers are requested to offer card players hand sanitizer between hands.
"Las Vegas is open. It's a great place to come and have a good time. We look forward to welcoming everybody back," Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said when he visited a Wynn casino Friday, reports KTNV. Sisolak was joined by Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan, who noted guests will see some major changes when they visit Las Vegas casinos. "You see things like plexiglass and signage all over, obviously all employees wearing masks," Morgan said. "I'm very encouraged here to see a lot of the guests wearing masks as well."
Las Vegas' re-opening is part of Nevada's Phase 2 re-opening plans. The city has also been shaken by nightly protests following George Floyd's death and blistering desert heat. A commercial set to announce Vegas' re-opening was temporarily shelved due to the social unrest. "We were ready to go, but it felt wrong. Because of the passion and sensitivity and pain our community was feeling as well as every community in the country, we thought it would be more appropriate to show restraint," R&R Partners CEO Billy Vassiliadis, whose firm created the ad, told USA Today.