The nine MGM Resorts hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip have joined a growing list of properties approved to operate their gaming floors at full capacity. The Station Casinos properties and Caesars Entertainment resorts in Las Vegas also have joined the list.
MGM Resorts announced on Wednesday that the Nevada Gaming Control Board gave the company permission to operate its casinos on the Strip at 100 percent capacity, with no social distancing.
The casinos are the MGM Grand on the east side of the Strip and, on the west side, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Aria, New York-New York, Park MGM, Bellagio, and the Mirage.
Also on Wednesday, Station Casinos announced that the board has allowed the company to operate its gaming floors at 100 percent capacity. These resorts, which are located throughout the Las Vegas Valley, include Red Rock, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, and Santa Fe Station.
Caesars Entertainment also received approval to operate its Las Vegas casinos at full capacity. These include Caesars Palace on the west side of the Strip and, on the east side, the Flamingo, the Cromwell, Bally’s, Paris Las Vegas, Harrah’s, the Linq, Planet Hollywood, and the Rio.
Also this month, the board give permission to other properties in the area to operate their gaming areas at 100 percent capacity. These are the Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod, and two Wynn Resorts, Wynn Las Vegas and the adjoining Encore.
The board is allowing casinos to operate at full gaming floor capacity if management can verify that 80 percent or more of its workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19. Masks continue to be required for employees and customers.
The resorts that meet this mandate can operate at full capacity and remove plastic barriers at table games and slot machines. These rules do not apply to non-gaming areas, such as restaurants, where 80 percent occupancy and social distancing are still required.
‘Importance of Vaccination’
At the beginning of May, the Gaming Control Board was given authority to dbeetermine casino capacity, based on “measurable” efforts from casinos to vaccinate their workforce.
MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is “a testament to the importance of vaccination in the effort to full reopen our community.”
“We will be working to vaccinate as many people as possible and remain vigilant with health and safety protocols designed to protect our employees, guests and community,” Hornbuckle said.
Positive Tourism Numbers§At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) required casinos and other nonessential businesses to close. The lockdown lasted for 78 days. It ended June 4. Some resorts opened right away. Others began to operate again over time.
Even after casinos opened, the city was slow to recover. In 2020, Las Vegas experienced its lowest visitor volume since 1989. Last year, 19.03 million people visited Las Vegas, down 55.2 percent from 2019.
At McCarran International Airport, passenger arrivals and departures declined by more than 30 million during the pandemic. The airport is at the southeastern end of the Strip, near the Tropicana, MGM Grand, and other hotel-casinos.
With the national rollout of vaccines and stimulus checks, the visitor volume to the Las Vegas Valley has improved.
In March, more than 2.2 million visitors made their way to the Las Vegas Valley, an increase of almost 46 percent over February’s visitor volume of 1.5 million. Also in March, the number of arriving and departing passengers at the airport was up 25 percent from the previous month.