Las Vegas Among the First Major U.S. Cities to Reopen for Business
Las Vegas officially welcomed back guests last week, June 4, after more than two months of being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking care to comply with directives from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, the Nevada Gaming Control Board and public health authorities — including guidelines set by the CDC and WHO — the city is among the first to strongly promote its reopening to travelers.
“Las Vegas is a city built on hospitality, and we are thrilled to open our doors on June 4 and welcome visitors from around the country,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “While our restaurants, pools and resorts will once again welcome guests, the health and wellbeing of those guests continues to be our top priority.”
Things might look a little different for the time being, he added, with some changes to operations. But the fact that Las Vegas properties are open again is big news, and comes with a few surprises: like many resorts offering free parking, for example. Take a look at what’s developing:
Las Vegas Convention Center
The 3.2-million-square-foot facility is among the first convention centers in the nation to pursue the GBAC STAR accreditation focused on cleaning, disinfection and infection disease prevention. To achieve this, facilities must demonstrate compliance with the program’s 20 elements, including standard operating procedures and emergency preparedness and response measures.
“We’re grateful to the GBAC STAR program for creating the industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation, and we’re proud to be among the first wave of leaders to pursue this accreditation,” said Brian Yost, chief operating officer for the LVCVA. “Demonstrating compliance will be an important step toward showing the world that Vegas means business, and when the time is right, the Las Vegas Convention Center stands ready to welcome our business travelers back.”
Nevada is currently in Phase 2 of Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery, and as part of Phase 2, public and private gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Because of those restrictions, while the LVCC could technically host a group of less than 50 at this time, the venue doesn't currently have any shows on the books until August — and even those scheduled still await guidance from the governor and health experts in regard to when the state will be able to accommodate larger groups, according to LVCVA officials.
Caesars Palace, Flamingo and Harrah’s all resumed operations last week, as did several retail and dining outlets, including The LINQ Promenade and High Roller Observation Wheel. Harrah’s reopened to particular fanfare, debuting a $200 million transformation that renovated its rooms and suites, and remodeled the hotel lobby and casino floor. On June 12, it will also reopen The LINQ Hotel + Experience casino gaming floor along with select restaurants and the pool, some with limited hours.
“We are encouraged by customer interest and visits, strong demand and the implementation, so far, of our enhanced health and safety protocols,” said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment. “This is a new way of operating, and we will continue to evaluate and adjust our procedures to enhance guest and team member comfort and experiences. Our expansion plans will continue to reflect customer demand as well as a focus on properly executing health and safety directives.”
HLTH 2020, a conference focused on the future of healthcare, is currently scheduled for Oct. 11-14 at the new Caesars Forum Conference Center, and CRE.Converge is slated for early October at Caesars Palace.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Initial amenities at this five-star casino-resort are open, including some of its restaurants such as Beauty & Essex and Block 16 Urban Food Hall, and the Boulevard Pool (with appropriately spaced lounge chairs and cabanas). Entertainment and nightlife venues remain closed for the time being.
The Venetian Las Vegas
This Italian-themed property has reopened its Venetian and Palazzo towers to the public and will look to reopen more amenities in phases, including its casino, restaurants and bars.
Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand Las Vegas and The Signature are all open again with limited amenities, to be expanded as demand for the destination builds. Inside Bellagio, the Conservatory features a new Japanese garden display called “Japan Journey: Magic of Kansai.”
Wynn Las Vegas
Wynn was among the first brands to announce new health and safety protocols for reopening earlier this spring. It’s now opened both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore hotel towers and casinos, as well as its full portfolio of restaurants, lounges, pools and golf course. (In February this year, the resort also debuted its 430,000-square-foot meeting and convention expansion, more than doubling its event space.)
DERM2020 NP/PA CME Conference is scheduled to take place at Encore, Aug. 6-9.
In another important announcement made June 9, the company revealed it has submitted a land-use application for the design of an underground tunnel, in partnership with Elon Musk’s company, that would connect the resort to Las Vegas Convention Center. This development, which would transport guests between the resort and the LVCC in less than two minutes, is a critical step for Wynn as it looks to invest in the future of eco-friendly meetings. Resorts World Las Vegas, a $4.3 billion resort slated to open next summer, has also submitted plans to be connected to the tunnel transporting guests to LVCC.
Learn more about how Las Vegas is reopening through the Las Vegas CVA by going here.