Nevada Casinos Face New Struggle as Capacity Reduced to 25%
Nevada casinos will be restricted to 25% capacity starting this Tuesday after a new order was issued by Governor Steve Sisolak.
Casino industries across the United States are being greatly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Since closing in March and reopening in June, casinos have worked hard to create a safe environment for players and employees. A large amount of money has been spent to provide personal protective equipment, plexiglass barriers and enhanced cleaning for protection. As the casinos struggle to recover, Governor Steve Sisolak has announced that casinos and restaurants in the state must now cut occupancy from 50% to 25%.
This will be a huge blow to the already struggling industry. Operators are now trying to figure out what to do with entertainment and convention needs, as many shows and events have been planned over the past few weeks.
On Sunday, Governor Steve Sisolak announced that new, tougher restrictions are starting this week as COVID-19 cases increase. While the casinos were able to avoid a complete shutdown, the impact will be seen across the market as venues must current capacity in half.
Restaurants and venues that serve food must stop walk-in customers from coming in. Reservations are now required, including at casino restaurants, to get a table. Dining is also limited to four people per table, whether the table is located outside or inside.
If the new changes do not stop the surge in COVID-19 cases, the governor warned that stronger action may be taken towards bars and restaurants. The governor mentioned prohibiting indoor dining altogether. However, he does not want to have to impose any more restrictions.
The new changes also apply this week during the Thanksgiving holiday. On Thursday, the casinos must ensure that the gaming floor is at a 25% capacity. It is expected that travelers will come to Las Vegas, even though health officials are urging visitors to avoid travel at this time due to the virus. Despite expected travel, the numbers should not get as high as they did last year, when over 290,000 people came to the area during the holiday.
Stay the Course
The governor said during his announcement that he spoke to most every casino operator in the state before making the announcement. He is hoping that compliance will be provided so that fines and other action does not have to taken against gaming operators.
If operators are not compliant, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reportedly has latitude when it comes to penalties. Operators will face the consequences if they do not follow dining restrictions as well as the capacity levels.
The order issued goes into December and owners of dining and bar facilities are saying it is impossible to remain in business with a reduced capacity. Sisolak was asked about this and said that restaurants can offer curbside pickup, delivery and takeout services. By offering additional services, the hope is that businesses will not see a huge cut in profits.
Also included in the new directives are face masks indoors and outdoors. Everyone is to wear a face mask if they are around someone who is not in their household. Residents in Nevada are supposed to restrict private gatherings to 10 people or less. If someone from another house is present, a mask must be worn.
This order was given essentially due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Officials are hoping that with this new order in place, people will restrict holiday gatherings, so the number of positive cases do not increase.
As for the casinos, MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have stated they are ready to follow the orders. Caesars will be providing takeout options for diners as well as ensuring hotel guests can have meals delivered to their rooms.