Casino operators and employees in the largest U.S. gambling market got some welcome news at the start of the Memorial Day weekend: a June 4 target date for reopening.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a first-term Democrat, announced the reopening date Friday. Resorts in Las Vegas have been shuttered since March due to the coronavirus, resulting in a surge in unemployment and a collapse of tax revenue. Sisolak has been under pressure for weeks to reopen one of the state's most-important industries.
He joins politicians in other states who are getting comfortable with the return of large entertainment venues. Casinos in Louisiana and Mississippi opened in the past week. And California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday his state's casinos, most of them run by Native American tribes, could open June 8. "We're putting out guidelines not just for casinos, but card rooms as well," he said.
A March study by the Brookings Institution identified Las Vegas as one of the areas hardest hit by the virus in the U.S., with 342,000 people, or one-third of the workforce, out of a job.
Casinos in Nevada have already taken steps to prepare for their reopening. Wynn Resorts Ltd. released a 23-page paper last month detailing the measures it will put in place, including taking temperatures of the guests at doors and handing out face masks to new arrivals. Other resorts are opening with less-stringent requirements.
Officials with Wynn and Caesars Entertainment Corp. said their properties will be ready to open on June 4. Caesars said it was opening first its high-end Caesars Palace and the lower-priced Flamingo across the street, with free parking as an added incentive.
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