Las Vegas Reopened Too Soon
This weekend I visited Las Vegas. The state of Nevada allowed casinos to reopen on June 4th and many did. The decision was likely made based on economics and not health considerations.
I don’t know the figures regarding visitors to the Strip. I would guess Vegas is around 25% of what it was last year at this time. However when visiting Vegas you would guess it is much higher as the properties that are open appear full.
In my opinion, Las Vegas opened too early. It is very much a watered down version of the lively destination it was before COVID. If you want to gamble and drink, there is likely a casino closer to home. And that’s about all there is in the new Vegas.
My favorite things about Las Vegas are the hotels, the shows, and the spas. Shows are dark, the spas are closed, and the hotels are not delivering on service. In addition, no clubs are open, only a handful of restaurants are open, and gambling is a mess.
While some of the hotels are open, my stay at Caesars Palace was subpar. There is no housekeeping during your stay. You can call for fresh towels but your bed won’t be made. I don’t believe that room service is available and the mini bar had been removed. These sound like small things, but when I am on vacation, I like to be taken care of. I have heard that non-Caesars properties are treating guests better — if you do come to Vegas I would stay elsewhere.
The disregard for safety shows how poorly thought the reopening was thought out. At Caesars properties and casinos in downtown Las Vegas, the only additional safety procedures in reality are staff wearing masks and some signage reminding people to social distance (and no one seems to get the message).
MGM properties have signage in addition to stations set up for washing your hands that are also stocked with gloves and face masks.
Most guests aren’t wearing masks, slot machine banks are all on at Caesars (though MGM had every other machine off), tables are open (though most have less spots for players), tubs with antibacterial wipes are empty and chips are being passed back and forth with no regard for germs. Caesars does not have any plexiglass dividers, though they are in place at MGM properties.
There are no occupancy limits being enforced. Both Caesars and MGM properties only check guests checking in to the hotel.
Car rentals have also been poorly thought out. All the big companies parked their fleet of cars in lots at the airport and even in garages on the strip. However, they have only brought a fraction of the cars back in to circulation. When I arrived to an empty airport on Friday night, the only crowd I encountered was at the Hertz counter where I was told I would have to wait at least 4 hours to possibly get a car. With no taxis or Ubers coming to the rental car facility, I hoped a bus back to the airport and took an Uber from there.
Caesars has kept their Laurel Lounges for Diamond elites closed. Instead, if you are Diamond Plus or higher, you can get free drinks at a select handful of bars. However, when I tried to get a drink by the pool, the staff had no idea and the only bar on the list was available only to people that rented a cabana. I was able to get in to get my drinks after a few conversations, but again, poorly executed. I believe the M life VIP lounges are also closed and I not sure if any alternative is offered.
The pool area itself at Caesars was busy. Chairs were placed in pairs but beyond that social distancing wasn’t being enforced.
My next Vegas trip is scheduled for September. I am going to wait and see how things shake out and may cancel the trip. Do you have plans to visit Vegas? Have you been since COVID? Share your thoughts in the comments.