Nevada gaming regulators have approved most of the state’s big casinos to reopen at 100 percent capacity as of this week. It’s a huge milestone that will hopefully put Nevada’s beleaguered gambling business back on the path to security and prosperity after 14 months of pandemic-driven instability and chaos.
Under the terms set by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, casinos that could show that 80 percent or more of their staff had been vaccinated could reopen their casino floors at 100 percent capacity. Restaurants, bars, and night clubs on casino property are allowed to operate, but must not exceed 80 percent capacity.
Casino guests will, for the most part, not be required to observe social distancing, though rules may vary from place to place. Masks rules, however, will remain in place. (How casino guests will react to this aspect of the reopening remains to be seen.)
The list of casinos that have been granted waivers to reopen their gaming floors at 100 percent capacity include those run by MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Station Casinos, Strat, Cosmopolitan and Silverton. This includes all of the Strip’s big properties and virtually every casino in Las Vegas.
In a statement to the media, reported on by the Reno Gazette-Journal, MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle praised the move to full capacity saying, “This is yet another major milestone in Las Vegas’ incredible recovery and a testament to the importance of vaccination in the effort to fully reopen our community. We will continue working to vaccinate as many people as possible and remain vigilant with health and safety protocols designed to protect our employees, guests and community.”
There’s no word on when restaurants and other parts of the casino properties will be allowed to reopen at fully strength.