Las Vegas Casinos Reopen With Social Distancing, Sinks by Slot Machines

Gene Naumovsky

Amidst the pandemic and civil unrest, U.S. casinos are trying to make a comeback with new safety measures.

As the pandemic still imposes state-wide restrictions and protests over police brutality rock the nation, Las Vegas Casinos aim to bring in customers with added hygiene measures, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Vegas Safely” branded sinks, even including glove and mask dispensers, line casino halls and rooms at destinations like MGM Resorts International.

Thursday morning saw casinos open their doors as restrictions were loosened. The Vegas strip brought in 42 million tourists last year, but now looks more like a ghost town. Yet, temperature checks and socially distanced games are now the new norm.

Casino floors are only allowed to hold a 50 percent occupancy according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The Bellagio installed plexiglass shields to separate players at table games. Expected guests are projected to be mostly residents of California and Arizona.

Around half of the U.S.’s 989 casinos have reopened. 257 of the reopened casinos are commercial, and the other 237 are tribal casinos, according to the American Gaming Association.

The Vegas Strip has been one of the many homes of recent protests over the tragic killing of George Floyd in police custody. A police officer was shot and seriously injured during one of the Strip’s protests on Monday. In another incident, a man carrying firearms was fatally shot by police in the downtown section of Las Vegas. Protestors and police faced off and tear gas was fired at crowds.

John Flynn, MGM Resorts vice president of administration, said, “We are a hospitality company, we are an entertainment company, but at the same time, we want to do this the right way.”

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