Las Vegas reopens earlier than expected but remains far from normal

Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery is working at a faster pace than expected with the state currently in its second phase. The continuous decline of new cases has Governor Steve Sisolak allowing casinos to partially resume operations within specific guidelines and restrictions. Just over a month since the phased plan had begun, a lot of progress had already ensued with multiple non-essential businesses striving to regain the normalcy it once experienced. Regardless of the efforts to restart the state’s economy, the heavily tourism-reliant state still has a long way to go to bring back the lavishness it is well known for.

4th of June saw first casinos reopening – Draws unexpected crowd

Similar to most tourist heavy states, Las Vegas seemed like a ghost town the past couple of months with the majority of gaming establishments shut down since mid-March. The 4th of June however, finally saw the partial reopening of 49 casinos, 15 of which were located on the Strip. A bit earlier than initially scheduled, operators are gauging public interest and are meticulously eyeing what to expect in the coming weeks.

The first casinos to open saw a difference in guest attendance with some reporting long lines while others only recorded a few visitors. In compliance with the restrictions posed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, operators were required to limit table game seating as well as heighten cleaning and disinfecting practices. As soon as the casinos opened their doors to the public at midnight, thousands flocked to gamble and lines started pouring in for a few venues with social distancing unfortunately thrown out the window. Reports of every seat being occupied over by gaming machines and table games also concerned some with the detrimental effects this may possibly bring.

Overall, many showed their utter excitement across social media to see Vegas moving again. Getting a glimpse of what the Sin City used to be made locals and tourists emotional given the 78-day quarantine period brought about by the pandemic.

More casinos to reopen

With more than half of the nation’s casinos already in business, major operators MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment are following suit in reopening their Vegas properties within the next two weeks. Currently, New York-New York, Bellagio, MGM Grand and Excalibur Hotel & Casino, four properties run by the MGM brand are operational since Nevada casinos were allowed to reopen. The company giant earlier this week announced that it would reopen Luxor on June 25 at 10 am and establishments Mandalay Bay and Aria to follow on July 1st at 10 am as well.

“Our guests are having a great time and are thrilled to be back in the city they love, We are eager to get more of our employees back to work and enhance the Las Vegas experience with additional resorts.”, said MGM acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle in a statement.

Additionally with more properties arranged to be up and running quite soon, MGM will ultimately begin rehiring most of the 63,000 staff members it furloughed a couple months back. This comes as great news for the workers of the service industry who were heavily impacted by the temporary shutdown.

Caesars Entertainment also lastly opened The LINQ Hotel & Experience earlier this week following the reopening of three major properties Caesars Palace, the Flamingo and Harrah’s Las Vegas on June 4th. Casinos The Cromwell, Bally’s Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Paris and the Rio along with MGM’s Park MGM and The Mirage have still yet to announce their respective target dates for the anticipated reopening.

“Get ready for another COVID-19 wave in Nevada,” says Full Tilt Pro Andy Bloch

Full Tilt Pro Andy Bloch
Full Tilt Pro Andy Bloch

WSOP bracelet winner and former Full Tilt poker pro Andy Bloch, shared his thoughts on a possible so-called “second wave” based on data reported with regards to the COVID-19 situation. A consistent seven-day increase of confirmed coronavirus cases were recorded with the pro expecting more to come as locals and tourists venture out into the city. Though inherently negative in nature, Bloch backed his assumptions with supported data saying the average number of cases recorded last week increased by a whopping 50%.

“Get ready for another COVID-19 wave in Nevada,” Bloch wrote on a Facebook post. “The weekly average number of new cases per day has been rising since June 1, erasing the downswing from the prior week.”

“A few days ago I was hoping that the rise in cases was due to increased testing, but the daily percentage of positive tests has also been increasing on average the last couple of days, and the last few days the number of hospitalizations and deaths have also been rising,”, he further noted.

Considering casinos are slowly reopening and a lot of demonstrations happening in the state, increased traffic is already ongoing together with heightened chances of a rebound. In efforts to protect overall public health and safety, careful observations and policies need to be in place for a successful outcome to transpire. A number of readers were quick to draw criticism following Bloch’s projections with others likewise agreeing with the pro. Nonetheless, making the public aware of the current situation will essentially bring more benefits towards a progressive jumpstart.

“The rate of new hospitalizations and deaths are less than 1/3 of the peak rates, and if we subtract out the facility cases, the numbers are both less than 1/4 their peak rates. In other words, the number of cases looks really bad, but the number of more serious cases resulting in hospitalizations and deaths is still fairly low, but rising. The fatality rate is about 2% of reported cases recently, 1.5% if we subtract out the facility cases,” Bloch revealed in his post.

Elon Musk has two Las Vegas casinos asking for Boring Company tunnels

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill revealed in a recent board meeting, plans of establishing new connections to Encore and Resorts World Las Vegas located on the north end of the Strip. This follows right after Elon Musk’s Boring Company finished excavating the first two tunnels for the convention center loop intended to shuttle Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) visitors around its facilities.

The proposed plan for new connections will ideally be the first step towards linking the Strip, McCarran International Airport and Allegiant Stadium.

Hill also added that the target date of completion for the Encore tunnel and station could be in early January of 2021. “This ramp will start near our north entrance of the west hall of the convention center and proceed along the edge of our property on Elvis Presley and cross under Las Vegas Boulevard and then over to Resorts World,”, he said in a statement.

Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas, said the proposed extension “would provide convention guests and visitors with a rapid and seamless experience between the Las Vegas Convention Center and Resorts World Las Vegas.”

“Convention guests would no longer have to worry about long walks or gridlock traffic around the convention center — they could take the transportation system to Resorts World Las Vegas for lunch, meetings, or personal appointments, and be back to their conference or expo in minutes,”

Unlike the earlier mentioned convention center loop wherein the Convention and Visitors Authority funded its $52.5 million construction, the new tunnels will be basically financed by The Boring Co. with minimal support from the two resorts. Officials have yet to reveal cost estimates for the timely project allowing the transport of passengers between the convention center station and Encore in just under two minutes. With the public monorail carrying around 4.8 million passengers a year, adding new transportation modes is vital for the state as it continues to grow, according to Hill. The progressive city which takes in about 42.5 million visitors yearly, is working its way to accomplish necessary long term plans to serve both its locals and guests alike.

“We certainly want to protect its (monorail) ability to provide that service,” Hill said. “I think we all realize we’re going to need a variety of transportation solutions to handle the movement of our guests around Las Vegas. We want to look for opportunities to allow those to happen.”

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Janette Dee

Graduated from De La Salle University, Janette works as a full time teacher in Manila, Philippines. She has long joined the local poker community as a recreational player for the last decade. Having a natural love for the game, she decided to branch out into a different avenue of poker. Currently, Janette works for Somuchpoker as a content writer reporting local and international news for the site.

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