The Venetian, Caesars Palace Could Temporarily Shutter as Some Nevada Businesses Disregard Mask Rule

Posted on: July 4, 2020, 10:38h. 

Last updated on: July 6, 2020, 11:08h.

Some Las Vegas casinos could voluntarily temporarily close their doors because of coronavirus worries, following what is promising to be a generally upbeat July 4 weekend for gaming properties and tourism.

July 4 weekend las vegas strip
Pedestrians cross Las Vegas Boulevard near the Paris Las Vegas at the start of the Independence Day weekend. Some wore masks, others did not. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“We hear some Las Vegas casinos could close temporarily due to COVID-19 concerns,” Vital Vegas, a popular online media site, reported on Friday. “A reliable source believes Venetian has plans to close, yet again, following the July 4 weekend.”

The Venetian shuttering, if it takes place, would be for a week to 10 days, the report added. But at mid-day Saturday The Venetian issued a tweet which said, “This social media rumor concerning a planned closure of the resort is false.”

We’ve also heard frontline staffers at Caesars Palace have relayed to guests the resort will temporarily close following the long weekend,” Vital Vegas further reported. “These rumors are unconfirmed, but it’s unlikely any casino would telegraph such moves heading into what’s expected to be a busy July 4 weekend.”

There is no immediate word whether Caesars Palace denies that rumor.

Despite the rumors, this week several Las Vegas Strip casinos and hotels reopened following lengthy closures because of the pandemic. KLAS, a local TV station, reported these include the Mandalay Bay, the Delano, Aria, the Waldorf Astoria, and the Four Seasons. Other Las Vegas casinos resumed limited operations last month.

Stripped Down

As of Friday, July 3, more tourists were seen on the Strip than in prior days, but still, far fewer pedestrians were present than before the pandemic. Many of them drove to the Strip from states that neighbor Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

For instance, Los Angeles residents Nicole and Paul Viazcan came prepared with wipes, hand sanitizer, and Lysol, the Review-Journal said. They last visited Las Vegas in January and noted the many pedestrians on Friday not wearing masks.

While at the Bellagio fountains, Jaylen Torres and her fiance, Abisai Garcia, said they drove to Las Vegas for the day from Salt Lake City. They planned to visit the Linq Hotel’s High Roller.

“It seems slow,” Garcia told the Review-Journal about the vibe and crowd size. “Businesses aren’t open as early,” he added.

Nate Johnson, an Illinois resident who frequently visits Nevada with his wife, told the Review-Journal Las Vegas is “not nearly as much fun” during the pandemic than it was before the COVID-19 outbreak. They are staying at the Bellagio, but in the future will not return to the city until Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) June 26 face-mask-in-public rule has expired.

(There are) a lot more rules, and usually people come to Vegas because there are no rules,” Johnson told the Review-Journal. “It’s definitely not the same Vegas.”

Crowds at the Bellagio and its gaming floor were “small but steady” Friday morning, the Review-Journal additionally reported. Guests were basically wearing masks, but coverings on some players at table games failed to cover their noses, the Review-Journal said. One female slot machine player lowered her mask under her chin while she smoked a cigarette, the report adds. At the Flamingo, most players wore masks, but many facial coverings were lowered below their noses or were pushed down as they smoked.

Some pedestrians and others on Las Vegas Boulevard at mid-day Friday chose not to wear masks, perhaps because of hot summer temperatures, the Review-Journal also reported.

Sisolak: ‘Must Comply with Face Mask Rule’

Before the July 4 weekend, only 49 percent of businesses, such as bars, restaurants, and other enterprises, were complying with Sisolak’s stricter facial covering rule, according to the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), based on its over 200 inspections undertaken on Thursday, reported KSNV, a local TV station.

Since the mask rule went into effect, the business compliance rate was 85 percent in northern Nevada and 65 percent in southern Nevada, OSHA said.

The news led to a stern warning from the governor. “The noncompliance numbers reported by State officials are disappointing and unacceptable a week after the face coverings directive was issued,” Sisolak said.

If these concerning reports on noncompliance continue, I will not hesitate to take swift and decisive actions next week directed at targeted industries or areas that are experiencing concerning COVID-19 trends and non-compliance,” the governor added.

Businesses that fail to comply could face a maximum fine of $134,940. The governor’s admonition comes as Las Vegas casinos and hotels are facing increasing cases of coronavirus among their workers and the general public.

On Friday, there were 576 new cases of COVID-19 in Nevada’s Clark County. It marks the fifth time in the last six days the Southern Nevada Health District reported at least 500 new coronavirus cases in a daily report. Several Las Vegas casino employees tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, the Review-Journal said.