Seventy eight days is a long time for casinos to stay closed, but Las Vegas casinos are hoping they won’t have to stay closed a day longer than that. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has announced a tentative reopening date of June 4, and casino operators are hoping business will come flooding back.
Sisolak will hold a press conference on May 26 to discuss the next phase of reopening Nevada’s economy. The same day, the Nevada Gaming Control Board will be conducting workshops to inform health and law enforcement offers how to handle casino resorts. It’s expected that if the count of new Covid-19 infections continues to decline, Sisolak will give his OK for casinos to re-open the following week.
Virginia Valentine, president and CEO of the Nevada Resorts Association, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that this is “fantastic news.” She added:
“Our members have spent more than two months preparing for this day. They’ve put in place enhanced health and safety plans and protocols … Our members are excited to show off the enhancements they’ve made that preserve the experience while ensuring the well-being of our employees and visitors.”
To reopen, each casino would have to submit plans about how they would do so atleast a week ahead of their planned reopening. So looking at the calendar, if they get the OK on May 26, they’d need to submit how they would keep employees and visitors safe by May 28 to hit the June 4 target date.
It’s not a total return to normal though. Nightclubs, dayclubs, buffets and large venues will remain closed, meaning the number of reasons to visit a Vegas casino would be significantly reduced. All the same, if you’re into playing poker behind a sneezeguard, the option will be there.
I'm looking forward to the poker tables opening in LAS VEGAS! pic.twitter.com/b43H5DQuiB— Joel Thingvall (@JoelTheThing) May 20, 2020
So it being May 25, does it looks like Sisolak is getting the COVID-19 decline everyone is hoping for? It depends how you look at the numbers. Another 300 cases have been found in the last 4 days, bringing the state’s total to 7700, and experts say an increase in testing has meant more positive cases have been found.
By any math, the curve has been flattened to a significant degree, but whether or not Nevadans can feel safe to return to the tables will depend on Sisolak’s gut call.