Much of Las Vegas plans to reopen June 4 following the COVID-19 shutdown, which found the largest meetings and tourism destination eerily empty while its neon signs continued to blaze away.

Caesars Entertainment announced it will reopen Caesars Palace and Flamingo Las Vegas June 4, as well as several retail and dining outlets along The LINQ Promenade and the High Roller Observation Wheel.

Caesars Entertainment said both hotels will offer lodging, dining options and access to their outdoor pools, as well as slot machines and table games, “in a manner consistent with physical distancing guidelines.”

The gaming giant said that it expects Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and the gaming floor at The LINQ Hotel & Casino to be its next Las Vegas properties to reopen, determined based on consumer demand.

Major hotel chains have issued stringent sanitation and other protocols to gear up for reopening their properties. Caesars Entertainment provides information on its health and safety protocols and COVID-19 updates at the following websites:

Other Las Vegas Casinos Opening June 4

According to a report from KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, the following properties are also targeting June 4 to reopen, with most undergoing a phased reopening:

  • Wynn Resorts: Wynn and Encore
  • Las Vegas Sands: Venetian Resort
  • MGM Resorts (4 properties): Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand, The Signature
  • Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
  • Plaza Hotel & Casino
  • Golden Entertainment (3 properties): The STRAT, Aquarius Casino Resort, Edgewater Casino
  • Station Casinos (6 properties): Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Sunset Station, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station
  • Treasure Island
  • Sahara Las Vegas
  • Tuscany Casino

Protocols for Reopening Nevada Gaming Operations

The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a list of requirements for casinos to open and remain operational, including specific protocols for meeting spaces and procedures for testing guests for COVID-19 and enhanced sanitization procedures for guest rooms that are determined to have been used by guests who are infected by the virus.

Following are the requirements issued by the Nevada Gaming Control Board:

Procedures Prior to Resuming Gaming Operations

  • Prior to reopening, each nonrestricted licensee shall clean and disinfect all of its hard and soft surfaces in accordance with the guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.”
  • Each licensee must ensure its employees are adequately trained on: (1) the proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures set forth in the CDC’s guidance above; and (2) how to prevent the spread of infectious disease, including, without limitation, social distancing, handwashing and not spreading germs at work. Plans should ensure that any training provided pursuant to this Policy is documented by the licensee.

Health and Safety Procedures Once Operational

When implementing their plans, licensees should utilize the Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19, published by the CDC. The Board expects licensees to include the following components in its Plans:

Employee and Patron Health Concerns

  • Signage should be posted throughout the property reminding employees and patrons of proper hygiene, including, without limitation, proper handwashing, how to cover coughs and sneezes, and to avoid touching their faces.
  • Employees should be instructed to stay home if they do not feel well, and to contact a supervisor or manager if they notice a co-worker or patron experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as coughing, shortness of breath, or other flu-like symptoms.
  • If a licensee is informed or is alerted to a case of COVID-19 at its property, it must communicate the case to and cooperate with its local health authorities.
  • All employees should receive clear instructions on how to properly and efficiently respond to all presumed cases of COVID-19.
  • Licensees must follow the appropriate steps to conduct additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols of all areas that patrons visited during their stay in accordance with guidelines issued by the licensee’s local health authority.
  • Plans should identify personnel or a department on property to serve as a liaison to assist local health authorities with aggregate data sharing and contract tracing.

Employee Training and Responsibilities

All employees should be required and consistently reminded to wash their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, before the start of a shift, at least once during every break period, and several times during their shifts, including, without limitation, when they change gloves or otherwise contaminate their hands. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required or recommended by federal, state or local authorities. When required or recommended, licensees must ensure that PPE is available to employees and provide training on how to properly use and dispose of all PPE.

Plans must include a provision outlining training on COVID-19 safety and disinfection protocols for all employees. Additional comprehensive training must be provided for employees who work in areas with frequent patron contact, including, without limitation, housekeeping, food and beverage, internal maintenance, hotel operations, casino operations and security.

Training, whether conducted in person, online, by video or in writing, should be available in English and Spanish.

Availability of Face Coverings for Patrons and Guests

  • Plans must provide for the availability of face masks or cloth face coverings for patrons and guests upon request.
  • Licensees should encourage patrons and guests to wear face masks or cloth face coverings while in public places on the licensee’s property.

Gaming Machines

Plans must ensure that the floor plan for gaming machines creates proper social distancing between patrons. For example, chairs and stools in front of every other gaming machine could be removed so that patrons do not sit next to each another, or licensees could propose other measures to ensure proper distance between patrons. Additionally, licensees should assign employees to focus on ensuring guests do not congregate in groups.

Plans must address how gaming machines, devices, chairs and other ancillary equipment will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.

Plans should also address the availability of hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for patron use on the gaming floor.

Table Games and Card Games

  • Plans must limit the number of patrons based on type of game to ensure proper distance between players by limiting the number of seats or betting positions per table, or licensees may submit alternative plans for approval by the Board. For example, player limit per table should be limited to three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table and four players per poker table.
  • Casino supervisors and managers must ensure that patrons do not congregate in groups around gaming tables.
  • Licensees should ensure dealers have hand sanitizer available to offer to patrons throughout their shifts. Plans should ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of, without limitation, table games, rails, dice, card shoes, shufflers, roulette wheels, Pai Gow tiles, pit podiums, blackjack discard holders and toke boxes on a regular basis and when a new employee comes into contact with any of the aforementioned gaming equipment.
  • Plans should also address how licensees will disinfect cards and chips.

Race & Sportsbooks, Keno Lounges and Bingo Halls

  • Plans must ensure that patrons do not congregate in groups and practice proper distancing in these areas.
  • Plans must address how the race and sportsbook, keno lounge, bingo hall and any other gaming area will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
  • Plans should also address the availability of hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for patron use in these areas.

[Related: AHLA President & CEO on Safe Stay and What Planners Need to Know Now About Hotel Industry]

Responsible Gaming

  • Plans must include the licensee’s commitment to and implementation of responsible gaming measures.
  • Licensees are encouraged to enhance their responsible gaming measures, including, without limitation, providing enhanced training to employees and creating specialized messaging for patrons.

Occupancy Limits

  • In order to achieve the social distancing guidelines issued by federal, state and local health authorities, Plans must limit a property’s occupancy to no more than 50% of the occupancy limit assigned to each gaming area of the property by local building and fire codes.
  • Licensees’ Plans should detail how compliance with this occupancy limit reduction will be achieved, which may include, without limitation, head counts by security personnel, utilization of a licensee’s existing surveillance systems, and making use of a licensee’s slot accounting system to aid in monitoring the number of patrons on the casino floor.

Social Distancing Guidelines

  • The Board expects all licensees to comply with any and all health and safety guidelines and directives issued by federal, state and local governing authorities with respect to the operation of hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and pools.

Guest Queuing

  • Any area where patrons queue should have appropriate signage requiring social distancing in accordance with federal, state and local health authority requirements.

Hotel Front Desk, Business Center, and Concierge

  • Social distancing protocols should be maintained among employees and patrons, consistent with federal, state and local requirements.

Restaurants and Bars

  • All restaurants and bars should have reduced seating in accordance with federal, state and local guidance to allow for appropriate distancing between each table and between patrons.

[On topic: Wolfgang Puck Catering Explores the Post-Coronavirus Shutdown Events F&B Experience]

Meeting and Convention Spaces

  • Meeting and banquet arrangements should allow for social distancing among attendees during all meetings and events based on federal, state and local recommendations.
  • Food service for meetings and conventions should be served by personnel and managed in accordance with federal, state and local requirements.
  • The size of gatherings is further subject to restrictions set forth by a directive from the Office of the Governor or a local health authority.

Nightclubs and Dayclubs

  • Nightclubs and dayclubs within a licensee’s property must be closed until further notice.

Retail Spaces

  • Patron occupancy limits and social distancing protocols should be consistent with federal, state and local requirements and will be enforced at licensee-owned and leased retail spaces.

Pools

  • Pool seating should be configured in a manner consistent with federal, state and local requirements to allow for appropriate distancing.

Back of House

  • Social distancing protocols, as provided by state and local health authorities, must be implemented in employee dining rooms, employee entrances, uniform control rooms, employee restrooms, loading docks, offices, kitchens, security scanning podiums, employee relations service desks and training classrooms.

Cleaning & Disinfection Guidelines

  • Generally: The Board expects all licensees to comply with any and all health and safety guidelines and directives issued by federal, state and local governing authorities with respect to the operation of hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and pools.
  • Plans should ensure that all public areas will be cleaned and disinfected on a continual and regular basis in accordance with federal, state and local guidelines for hotel operations.
  • Licensees should increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-contact surfaces, including, without limitation, front desk check-in counters, bell desks, elevators and elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms, room keys and locks, ATMs, redemption terminals, rewards club kiosks, escalator and stair handrails, casino cage counters, gaming machines, gaming tables, gym equipment, dining surfaces and restaurant menus.
  • Additionally, all restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.

Cleaning & Disinfection for Hotel Rooms and Operations

  • Licensees should ensure that housekeeping staff receives comprehensive training on COVID-19 safety and disinfection protocols.
  • Additionally, licensees should provide employees access to required PPE, cleaning products and sanitizer.
  • Any carts, trolleys or mobile equipment utilized by or to transport employees should be disinfected on a consistent basis.
  • Plans should utilize cleaning products that meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines and are approved for use and effective against viruses, bacteria and other airborne and bloodborne pathogens.
  • All disinfectants should be used in accordance with their labels to ensure proper application, contact time, and user safety.
  • Plans should acknowledge the use of cleaning and disinfecting protocols to clean guest rooms approved by the CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Licensees should ensure that increased attention is paid to high-touch items, including, without limitation, remote controls, toilets and handles, door and furniture handles, water faucet handles, nightstands, telephones, in-room control panels, light switches, temperature control panels and flooring.
  • Linens should be washed at a high temperature and with appropriate cleaning products in order to eliminate viral and bacterial pathogens.

Back of House

  • The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting will also increase in high-traffic, back-of-house areas with an emphasis on the employee dining rooms, employee entrances, uniform control rooms, employee restrooms, loading docks, offices, kitchens, security scanning podiums, employee relations service desks and training classrooms.
  • Plans should ensure that any tools and equipment shared by employees will be disinfected before, during and after each shift, or anytime the equipment is transferred to a different employee. This includes, without limitation, phones, radios, computers, other communication devices, payment terminals, engineering tools, safety buttons, folios, cleaning equipment, keys, time clocks and all other direct contact items used by employees throughout the licensee’s property.

COVID-19 Room Recovery Protocol

  • Plans must include a cleaning procedure in the event of notice or knowledge of a hotel guest with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • The hotel guest’s room must be removed from service and undergo an enhanced cleaning protocol as determined by local health authorities. The licensee is prohibited from returning that hotel room to service until the licensee has complied with the requirements set forth in NRS 447.100, as well as with any additional guidance from local health authorities.

Additional Requirements for Resort Hotels

  • If a licensee is a resort hotel pursuant to the definition in NRS 463.01865, the licensee’s Plan must confirm that it will, at a minimum: (1) conduct temperature screenings of hotel guests upon arrival; or (2) ensure that there is a medical professional on property at all times and require hotel guests to complete a symptom self-assessment upon check-in.
  • A licensee that is a resort hotel must also provide a designated area within the resort where hotel guests may be tested for COVID-19, and where such hotel guests can safely wait for the test results.

Cleaning & Sanitation for Restaurants, Bars and Lounges

  • Plans should ensure that all dining tables, bar tops, stools and chairs are disinfected after each use.
  • All host podiums, service stations, service carts, beverage stations, counters, handrails and trays should be disinfected on a regular basis.
  • All point-of-sale terminals should be disinfected between uses and after each shift.
  • Employees who handle food should comply with state and local health district guidelines.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is maintaining a COVID-19 updates page here.

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