LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It has been 78 days since the COVID-19 pandemic forced casinos to shut down all around Southern Nevada, but at 12:01 a.m. everything changed. Things are slightly different, but everybody is happy that they are able to return.
For locals like Shanon and Terrace Diaz, they are happy the wait is over.
“We’ve been waiting, we wanted to be here right when it opens. It’s a good thing,” said Terrace Diaz.
"Just to feel it. Feel the real Vegas,” added Shanon Diaz.
Casinos are open again, but terms that did not exist before the closures, like social distancing, have altered the experience.
“We’ve implemented our Play it Safe campaign, which prioritizes safety of our guests and our team members,” explained Joe Yalda, vice president of guest experience at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa.
“As soon as [visitors] walk in, they go through a very non-invasive thermal imagining scanning which will check their temperature," said Yalda. "And from that moment on they’ll be physically distanced. And you’ll see, as soon as you walk in you’ll run into your first hand sanitizer station or your hand wipe station. We have over 170 located strategically throughout the whole casino floor.”
In addition to these safety protocols, all stations casino employees will be wearing masks. Guests will have the option of wearing them as well. That’s not the only change you’ll see inside the casinos.
“As you notice at our slot machines, there’s chairs removed,” said Yalda. “Every other chair is removed for people to be physically distanced apart. And then when you look at the craps table, we’ve lowered the number of people on that too.”
But that hasn’t changed the enthusiasm for locals or tourists.
“They are finally opening, we are thankful for that, and it’s like going back to school for the first day of class. We’re excited,” said Davi Herrera, a New York resident who splits time here in Las Vegas along with his wife. “It’s a very pleasant experience.”
The new focus is on safety. But like before, the priority remains having fun.