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Back In Business: Las Vegas Casinos Reopen

(AP Photo/John Locher)

People play craps after the reopening of the Bellagio hotel and casino Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Las Vegas. Casinos in Nevada were allowed to reopen on Thursday for the first time after temporary closures as a precaution against the coronavirus.

After a 78-day absence, Las Vegas casinos have reopened their doors to sizable crowds of visitors longing to put a dollar in a slot machine or have a drink at the bar.

At 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Downtown Las Vegas casinos and properties throughout the region that cater to local residents were the first to reopen. 

Less than half of the Strip’s properties have reopened under new health and safety protocols.

So far, Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, and the Flamingo are open for business. Harrah’s Las Vegas opens Friday.

Sahara Las Vegas, the Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn Las Vegas Encore and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas also joining the reopening party.

People who ventured to casinos downtown were happy to be back at the slot machines, table games and the bars. And happy to have a face-to-face conversation with people after 78 days of near isolation.

When customers arrived they saw an army of workers cleaning everything, including slots, railings and chairs. When someone got up from a table, it was cleaned.

Las Vegas has never been so clean.

That is what customers are going to expect going forward a safe, clean place to find entertainment.

Some customers were wearing masks and all the employees were wearing masks, even the scantily clad go-go dancers that try to lure people in to gamble.

Resorts were taking the temperatures of people as they walked in. Some with a hand-held thermometer and some with a device that looked a bit like a metal detector that you held your wrist up to.

But are hand sanitizer and temperature checks at entrances enough to lure tourists back to Las Vegas?

"The pandemic has been hard and people are still concerned but I think as people... you know it's like the canary in the mineshaft, people are going to say, 'How's it going?" And the numbers are going to dictate everything as long as our numbers stay good as far as hospitalizations and stuff, those continue to drop, the comeback will be very quick here,"  said El Cortez General Manager Adam Wiesberg.

Most economists agree it could take several months for the tourism and gaming industries to return to full strength in Las Vegas.

Chris Sieroty, producer, KNPR's State of Nevada and veteran gaming reporter.

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(Editor's note: Chris Sieroty no longer works for Nevada Public Radio)