Vegas resorts unveil health, safety protocols

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Wynn and Encore are among the Las Vegas resorts that have detailed health and safety measures they will take when they reopen.
Wynn and Encore are among the Las Vegas resorts that have detailed health and safety measures they will take when they reopen. Photo Credit: Wynn/Encore Las Vegas

Las Vegas resorts have begun to unveil aggressive, detailed strategies to address concerns about health and safety when they reopen.

Wynn Las Vegas and sister property, Encore Las Vegas, became the first to detail protocols on April 19, releasing a 23-page document.

"This plan presents what we will do to keep our guests, employees and our community safe," said Matt Maddox, chief executive officer, Wynn Resorts. "Each operating department has its own customized set of procedures.  It relies on the best available science on sanitization methods in consultation with professional infectious disease experts from the best academic institutions in the country.

Increased testing, a decline in confirmed Covid-19 cases and the resumption of local business early this month should proceed the opening of larger Strip resorts, Maddox said. Wynn would reopen with reduced occupancy, physical distancing measures in place, temperature checks and no large gatherings.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, who on April 29 extended Nevada's stay-at-home directive through May 15, has yet to confirm when resorts and casinos will be able to reopen.

"I understand that if we incrementally reopen, we might have to pull back if a spike in cases occurs that jeopardizes our health care system capacity," Maddox said.  "However, the only way to cross this river is one stone at a time, and we need to put our feet in the water before it is too late."

Among the procedures detailed in the Wynn plan:

• Guests and employees will be screened with thermal cameras at all entries. Those with a temperature of more than 100 degrees F will be taken to a private area for a secondary temporal temperature screening. Those with confirmed high temperatures will not be allowed to enter and will be directed toward medical care.

• Guests will be advised to practice physical distancing by standing at least six feet away from other groups of people not traveling with them while standing in lines, using elevators or moving around the property. Restaurant tables, slot machines and other physical layouts will be arranged to ensure appropriate distancing.

• Hand-sanitizer dispensers will be placed at major guest and employee entrances and contact areas such as driveways, reception areas, hotel lobbies, the casino floor, restaurant entrances, meeting and convention spaces, elevator landings, pools, salons and exercise areas.

• Visitors will be asked to use hand sanitizer and will be highly encouraged to wear a face mask, which will be provided by the resort. Guests who want to gamble will be requested to briefly lower their masks for age and identification purposes to comply with Nevada gaming requirements.

• Le Reve Theater's seating capacity will be limited, and only one show a day will be scheduled. Performers and divers in close contact with each other will sanitize themselves by submersing in the chlorinated theater water.

Wynn will continue to refine and update the plan as experts provide more advice, Maddox said. The resort is accepting reservations on its website for Memorial Day weekend (May 22 to 25).

Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates the Venetian and Palazzo, released its plan, called Venetian Clean, on April 28.

"This top-line summary represents more than 800 separate initiatives we have rolled out in response to the Covid-19 pandemic -- from the arrival experience to the suite experience, from the casino floor to meeting spaces as well as our restaurants and lounges," said Keith Salwoski, executive director, public relations.

The Venetian in Las Vegas will distribute amenity kits to guests that include hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, gloves and a face mask.
The Venetian in Las Vegas will distribute amenity kits to guests that include hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, gloves and a face mask. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Sands

In addition to following social distancing guidelines and being subject to thermal screenings at entry points, Venetian guests will be welcome to wear personal or hotel-provided face masks and gloves. Masks that obscure the entire face, however, are prohibited.

Among Venetian's other measures:

• All guests will receive amenity kits in their suites. The kits will include hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, gloves and a face mask. Employees will wear personal protective equipment based on their roles and responsibilities.

• About 25 certified emergency medical technicians will be available around the clock, with one-third on site every day.

• Suites that housed confirmed Covid-19 cases will be removed from service, cleaned by a third-party expert and won't be returned to service until it is deemed safe.

• In the Grand Canal Shoppes, gondolas will be limited to four riders and will not be grouped with other parties. A gondola pilot wearing a face mask will be aboard to steer the vessel. Gondoliers stationed along the canal will serenade passengers from an appropriate distance.

• Hospital-grade disinfectant will be applied on high-touch surfaces in lobbies, public spaces and offices during off-peak hours.

• The use of ultraviolet lights is being explored to decontaminate shipments arriving at receiving docks, mailroom and warehouse. This technology is also being explored to decontaminate retail and hotel equipment, such as bell services carts and luggage.

More details can be found on the Venetian website.

Las Vegas Sands resorts are not accepting reservations, and all bookings through May 31 have been canceled.

MGM Resorts International acting CEO and president Bill Hornbuckle said many operating changes are in the works.

In a video released April 22, Hornbuckle said, "What it means to provide good customer service will change. Everything from how often we clean to how we greet our guests could and will change. Our casino floors will look different, and our restaurants will ultimately be impacted, as well."

MGM Resorts, which cleared all entertainment on its calendar through June, has yet to release a detailed plan on its health and safety precautions.

"This is a completely uncharted path," Hornbuckle said. "But we have to consider every aspect of our business so we can welcome our guests safely and keep each other safe while we do it."

In MGM's first-quarter earnings call on April 30, Hornbuckle indicated that New York-New York and Bellagio would be first in MGM Resorts' portfolio to open in Las Vegas.

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