Las Vegas has always been known for its “service first” attitude, now casino and restaurant workers face a challenge nobody could’ve predicted: Guests can’t see their smiles.
Following the COVID-19 shutdown, casino and restaurant employees have to wear masks. That includes the folks we interact with most at casinos, including cocktail waitresses, servers and bartenders, among others.
How are casino staffers overcoming this dilemma? They’re doing what they do best, they’re smiling and taking it in stride.
Behold, the power of “smizing.”
From our first visit to a reopened restaurant, we noticed immediately we could tell if servers were smiling just by their eyes, also known as “smizing.”
“Smizing,” or “smiling with your eyes,” was popularized by model and TV host Tyra Banks.
Vegas may not have invented “smizing,” but our service industry employees have perfected it.
Many wondered what affect masks would have on the Las Vegas experience. Would they spoil the vibe? Would they deter gamblers from hitting the tables?
Apparently, not so much.
Demand for hotel rooms has been stronger than expected since casinos reopened on June 4, 2020, and casino employees, especially, have managed to make customers feel welcome despite masks.
That even includes the town’s iconic showgirls.
We’ve been all over town, and “smizing” is in full effect everywhere.
Interacting with your favorite dealer or restaurant server in a mask can be disconcerting at first, but after five minutes or so, it becomes a non-issue.
You still get the banter, the attitude, the friendliness, along with the knowledge this isn’t permanent.
Las Vegas finds a way.
The current over/under on how long employees will have to wear masks is 60 days.
Legions of service industry employees seem to be acclimating to the mandated safety protocols just fine, knowing their inconvenience is serving a larger purpose. Among other things, face coverings let guests know health is top-of-mind.
Masks are also a visual cue casinos are doing everything they can to assure a safe place for travelers to stay and play.
Let’s all hope this “new temporary” is as fleeting as a poker player’s bad beat.
We need to see those smiles again, because Las Vegas isn’t quite the same without them.