Las Vegas just hit the jackpot in its rebound from the pandemic.
Three of the biggest casino operators in Nevada — MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Station Casinos — were all approved to return to full casino capacity with no social distancing restrictions. The news, announced Wednesday, means 24 casinos across the valley can now immediately resume operating at 100% capacity.
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The decision impacts some of the biggest and most popular resorts in Vegas. MGM properties returning to pre-pandemic casino operations include:
- Bellagio Resort & Casino
- ARIA 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
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As for Caesars, its iconic Caesars Palace, Bally’s, the Flamingo and the Paris Las Vegas are among its Strip resorts that can now return to pre-pandemic operations.
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The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued the waivers based on the three casino groups’ efforts to get their workforce vaccinated.
“This is yet another major milestone in Las Vegas’ incredible recovery and a testament to the importance of vaccination in the effort to fully reopen our community,” MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said in a statement. “We will continue working to vaccinate as many people as possible and remain vigilant with health and safety protocols designed to protect our employees, guests and community.”
MGM Resorts set up a free on-site vaccine clinic at its Mandalay Bay Convention Center, as well as pop-up clinics at its Las Vegas properties, to vaccinate thousands of workers, their families, third-party vendors and entertainers. Caesars also offered on-site vaccination events at its properties and provided incentives for employees to get the vaccine. Station Casinos, which focuses on attracting primarily local customers, has at least 80% of its staff at properties such as Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station and Boulder Station with at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.
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“The more properties that come back to full capacity really signal an end to much of the pandemic for us,” said Amanda Belarmino, an assistant professor at UNLV’s college of hospitality.
Other casinos on the Vegas Strip — like the Wynn, Encore and Cosmopolitan — have already been allowed to resume gaming floor operations at full capacity after showing state officials that at least 80% of its staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the casinos can go back to full capacity, there are still health restrictions visitors must follow outside the resorts. Clark County’s 80% occupancy restrictions and 3-feet social distancing policies remain in place outside the casinos, in areas such as the resorts’ restaurants, pools and other nongaming venues. The state’s mask mandates also remain in place throughout the properties.
Featured image by: Aaron Black/Getty Images.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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