LAUGHLIN — Several Laughlin casinos announced Wednesday that they will reopen June 4 after getting the green light from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Golden Entertainment, Inc., said that two of its Laughlin properties, the Aquarius Casino Resort and the Edgewater Casino Resort, will open at 8 a.m. June 4. Harrah’s Laughlin, part of the Caesars Entertainment holdings, also announced it will reopen. Golden previously had announced that the Colorado Belle would not be part of the reopening. Golden also is reopening its STRAT Hotel, Casino & Skypod in Las Vegas on June 4.
Other Laughlin properties are expected to follow suit as casinos across the Nevada begin to emerge more than two months after they were closed by Sisolak’s orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
“We will certainly be welcoming visitors back to Nevada on June 4,” Sisolak said. “We’ve taken every precaution possible. I don’t think you’re going to find a safer place to come than Las Vegas on June 4 with the protocols that we’ve put in place, the testing that we put in place.”
Sisolak cited a 35-day decline in the rate of new cases of COVID-19 in Nevada and said the state is ramping up testing and contact tracing, and has hospital capacity to handle cases that emerge. Health officials report the virus has infected more than 8,100 people in the state and killed at least 396, mostly in the Las Vegas area.
The announcement of the state’s approval to reopen was welcome news locally.
“Laughlin has long been a popular destination for summer getaways to take in watersports on the Colorado River and the excitement of the casinos,” said Sean Hammond, vice president and general manager of Aquarius and Edgewater. “We look forward to reopening in time for people to enjoy their trips to Laughlin, while also providing a safe, healthy atmosphere.”
Property occupancies initially have been placed at 50%, according to guidelines set by the State of Nevada.
While some areas of the resorts will be closed during an initial reopening phase, most restaurants and the main casino floors will reopen.
Gamblers will be limited to three at blackjack and other table games, four at roulette, six at craps. Some resorts plan to disinfect dice between shooters, clean chips periodically and change card decks frequently. Some will encourage the use of cellphones for touchless check-in, as room keys and to read restaurant menus.
Regulators said all front-line resort workers should be screened for COVID-19 before returning from furloughs and plans should be in place to isolate infected visitors.
Sisolak also said he would be modifying the current rules for public gatherings, raising the size limit from 10 to 50. With that announcement, Sisolak added that places of worship will now be able to hold in-person services as long as they follow the guidelines with no more than 50 people in attendance and adequate social distancing in place.
“I am confident faith leaders will follow the guidance and restrictions necessary to protect the health and welfare of their communities,” he said.
Sisolak had planned to hold a news conference Tuesday night but canceled it because an employee at the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation in Carson City; Sisolak visited the facility last week, although he was not there at the same time as the employee. Sisolak learned of the employee’s positive test on Tuesday. He canceled the news conference and underwent a COVID-19 test later in the day. On Wednesday, the swab test came back negative.
“I want to be clear: I feel fine and I am not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19,” he said before learning of the results. “I hope Nevadans can use this as a learning lesson, if you have been exposed, or if you know someone who has been exposed, go get a test, even if you’re asymptomatic. It’s that easy.”