The city’s aggressive year-long journey towards normalcy is eventually paying off for the highly visited Las Vegas as casinos return to full capacity. A couple weeks before the county’s target date of June 1st, gaming floors across major properties have been given the green light by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to return to 100% occupancy with no social distancing required. Covid restrictions such as wearing of masks have also been deemed inessential for fully vaccinated individuals in a number of locations.
With the live World Series of Poker scheduled for this November at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, it remains highly likely that poker enthusiasts will see a festival close to pre-Covid operations. The exciting time ahead will ease up on several health restrictions judging from today’s general plan of action.
Las Vegas close to normal
Sin City is buzzing once again as tourists flock back into the entertainment capital with less concerns of the circling virus. Vaccinations have been a top priority for casino employees with the Board ordering at least 80% of the staff to be vaccinated as a prerequisite to expanding operations. Major brands including Bellagio Resort & Casino, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Park MGM, The Mirage Hotel & Casino, New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Luxor Hotel and Casino, Excalibur Hotel & Casino and ARIA Resort & Casino have since returned to full capacity following the directives.
Among the biggest casinos, MGM Grand, the Bellagio, ARIA Resort & Casino, and others have quickly announced their decision to drop mask requirements for fully vaccinated guests following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidelines. Some casinos such as Caesars Entertainment, however, are still continuing to implement the said precaution regardless. The globally famous brand which runs Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas, and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino has previously stated that they are maintaining “strict adherence to CDC, state, local and regulatory guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so.”
Similarly, resorts Wynn and Encore Las Vegas have taken a slightly different path, indicating that only guests and employees who have completed a minimum of 14 days after their final vaccine dose are allowed to go about without masks while at the property. The first to resume full operations in the area, Wynn Resorts has also since taken down its plexiglass dividers between seats at table games and slot machines.
“If you are not fully vaccinated, please take the proper precautions and wear a face covering”, highlighted the company.
Maskless WSOP on the horizon
With last year’s regular WSOP festivities in Las Vegas having taken a different course, the poker community is beaming with excitement as the leading brand returns with a full live schedule this coming November. The highlight of every year, poker players are more eager than ever to sit down at an event much like how they used to without the threat of the pandemic looming over everyone’s heads.
While the online scene has been making up for all the postponed events, the noise, banter, fun and overall social aspect of the live tables still brings a different level of gaming experience. WSOP bracelet winner Ryan Laplante shares the same sentiments with the majority of the community as seen on his social media post.
Masks already no-longer required @WynnPoker for those who are vaccinated.
I’m looking forward to the 1st live event I can safely play without a mask. pic.twitter.com/zxaF9mvK0U
— Ryan Laplante🏳️🌈 (@Protentialmn) May 14, 2021
The 2021 live WSOP festival will reportedly run from September 30 through November 23 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino with the Main Event expected to begin on November 4 and set to conclude on the 17th. With seven weeks of gold bracelet action, interested players are already anticipating its official schedule release while at the same time, working on building their bankrolls for the upcoming series.
“This year, more than ever, we embrace our role at the WSOP to deliver memorable experiences and bring this community of poker lovers back together. In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to Vegas,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director.