Las Vegas open for business: 11 things returning visitors need to know
The coronavirus crisis has changed Las Vegas, but some key Vegas elements remain the same. Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO of MGM Resorts, owner of New York-New York, Bellagio and other Vegas properties, wants visitors to go home and say it was safe, fun and it's still the Vegas I know.
New regulations limit the number of players per table at some casinos. Dealers and employees are required to wear masks or face shields. Caesars requires that gamblers wear a mask at table games. MGM has installed plexiglass partitions at its tables and bar-top video poker machines.
Hotels use contactless and infrared thermometers to check visitors' temperature. Caesars Palace uses a machine resembling a metal detector. New York-New York has EMTs stationed at the check-in line. The D Las Vegas on Fremont Street downtown checked all visitors’ temperatures during reopening week.
Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts operate the most casino-hotels on the Strip. Caesar's has reopened Caisars Palace, Flamingo and Harrah's, but not Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Bally's and the Linq. MGM has re-opened Bellagio, New York-New York and Grand, and plans to reopen Excalibur on Thursday. Aria, the Mirage, Park MGM, Mandalay Bay, Luxor and others are still closed.
The all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants haven't reopened yet. The coronavirus has already claimed Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes. Hotel pools are open to reduced capacity. Some attractions, including the High Roller observation wheel, Bellagio fountains and New York-New York roller coaster have resumed.
Free hotel parking was a hallmark of Las Vegas until 2016. Now Caesars and MGM are promoting their new policy. The policy applies only to self-parking because valet parking is not offered. Before the crisis, self parking fees were as high as $18 and valets were $30.
MGM is implementing free self-parking now. It doesn't have a timeline regarding future plans or changes.
The new slogan for Las Vegas tourism is "What happens here, stays here". The new TV spot is a toned-down version of the old one.
The resort fee nearly doubled the price of a room at the D Las Vegas downtown when it reopened Wednesday. The Cosmopolitan Las Las has raised its resort fees. Sahara Las Vegas is waiving its $37.95 resort charge for reservations booked in June for stays through May 2021.
The opening week of Las Vegas was light. The Strip is still largely deserted. Free drinks are still available 24 hours a day. The cocktail servers wear masks.
Casinos are one of the few public places you can still smoke inside. Masks are only encouraged, not mandatory, in Las Vegas casinos.
Las Vegas casino ATMs still charge $7.99 or $8. 99 to withdraw your money.