The big question in Las Vegas at the moment is, “When will the casinos open again?”
The other big question is, “Did you know a roulette table could have 10 zeroes and still have better odds than live keno?”
Let’s focus on the first question, though.
The answer to “When will Las Vegas casinos reopen?” is “Nobody knows for sure.” That answer would make for a very short blog post, so let’s forge ahead.
The coronavirus shutdown in Las Vegas has been brutal, of course. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak shut down casino resorts on March 17, 2020. The mandated closures are for 30 days, which puts us at a potential opening date of April 17, 2020.
Some say the casino closures are too long, others say it’s too short, so 30 days is probably about right.
A number of resorts are currently accepting room reservations for April 17.
Here’s a look at the Caesars Palace calendar, for example.
While most Las Vegas casinos are working with the April 17 date, others are rounding up (or down) to May 1.
Several casino companies haven’t publicly announced their May 1 reopening target date, but we’ve been told they include: Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos and Wynn Resorts.
The casinos are looking to a number of sources to determine when they might reopen, including public officials, medical experts and, not surprisingly, each other.
Governor Sisolak said the decision to reopen will “strictly be based on medical decisions, medical guidance and statistics.”
We called May 1 the over/under reopening date early on, and took a poll to see what vibe laypersons are experiencing.
We took the “under,” but the term that’s become ubiquitous lately is “fluid,” meaning nothing is certain, especially during very uncertain times.
No matter how the Vegas reopening timeline unfolds, there won’t be a lot of celebrating as Sin City is going to look like a shadow of its former self. (Although, we’ve been advocating a big Grand Reopening Bash celebration at some point down the road. Memorial Day on May 25 could fit the bill.)
Demand won’t instantly come flooding back, even if concerns about coronavirus subside. That means casino resorts will reopen in a phased approached, based upon demand.
Our vote is for casinos to open first, then hotels, restaurants and bars. There were rolling closures when the resorts closed, so there’s likely to be “rolling openings” as well.
Shows are going to continue to face challenges, as venues where large crowds gather, like theaters, will probably remain closed the longest. This is rough news for independent productions in town, but agonizing news for our beloved Cirque du Soleil, as the company is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy.
The basics of social distancing will become a part of Las Vegas in the foreseeable future, no matter when casino doors open again.
We’ve heard from several sources resort employees will be called back to their jobs two weeks before the casinos open again, so that will give us all a heads up efforts to reopen are underway in earnest.
A visible change will be the phasing out of a time-honored Vegas tradition, buffets. At least two venues have buffets that won’t be coming back. Closed permanently are the buffets at TI (Corner Market Buffet) and Golden Nugget (The Buffet). The closure of Golden Nugget’s buffet is unrelated to current events, from what we understand.
The Bayside Buffet at Mandalay Bay is also rumored to be closing permanently.
The debate about when Las Vegas resorts should reopen rages on, especially in social media. Due to the shutdown, people have a lot of time to express their opinions on the subject, and opinions run the gamut.
What’s clear is we need to find a way forward, not just in Las Vegas but the country. We are going to have to make some collective decisions, based upon facts, not fear.
Our over/under date of May 1 seems a fair balance of concerns about public health and the reality we can’t implode our economy in an attempt to save every life.
Here’s one of the more thoughtful articles we’ve found grappling with this subject.
Our future is fraught with impossible decisions we’re thrilled we don’t have