Caesars Entertainment said it will reopen Harrah’s Las Vegas next Friday, saying customer interest is exceeding the company’s previous projections.
Initially, Caesars planned to reopen Caesars Palace and the Flamingo Las Vegas, as well as potions of the Linq Promenade and the High Roller Observation Wheel on Thursday, when the government-ordered closures on the casino industry due to the coronavirus pandemic are lifted.
“Initial customer demand to visit the Las Vegas Strip has been much stronger than anticipated, triggering our decision to reopen Harrah’s Las Vegas,” Caesars CEO Tony Rodio and in a statement Friday afternoon.
It’s still unclear how many hotel rooms Caesars is putting on the market. Caesars Palace has almost 4,000 rooms, Flamingo has more than 3,400 rooms and Harrah’s operates more than 2,500 rooms.
The company said it was complying with all reopening and operating directives from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and public health authorities, which includes keeping property occupancy at 50%.
Caesars spokesman Richard Broome said in an email the company is “still trying to match demand to our ability to operate effectively, especially in the context of the enhanced health and safety protocols being implemented.”
The company said Caesars Palace, Flamingo, and selected LINQ Promenade outlets will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday. The High Roller will begin operating at noon on Thursday. The casino resorts will each open several food and beverage outlets, including Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen (for dinner only) and the Old Homestead Steakhouse at Caesars Palace.
The hotel-casinos will also allow access to the outdoor pools and the casino area, which will include a reduced number of slot machines and limited table game seating for social distancing purposes.
The Control Board’s guidelines established initial requirements covering cleaning and disinfecting operations, social distancing, and virus-screening temperature checks for customers and employees. Multiple hand-sanitizing stations and guides that recommend frequent hand-washing and social-distancing techniques will be available.
In addition to the 50% maximum occupancy requirement, casinos run by resort operators are must increase the space between their slot machines and will be required to limit the seating at table games – three players for blackjack, six for craps, four for roulette, and four for poker.
“Our enhanced health and safety protocols will be highly visible, including social distancing, frequent cleaning and sanitizing throughout the properties, as well as daily health screenings for all employees who will be at work,” Rodio said.
Caesars also suspended its paid self-parking operations at all its Las Vegas resorts.
Caesars said Harrah’s completed a $200 million multi-year resort transformation, that includes all-new rooms and suites, a remodeled casino floor and hotel lobby, Buddy Valastro’s PizzaCake restaurant, and a “refreshed” Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
The company has not announced reopening plans for Bally’s Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, The Cromwell, Linq Hotel-Casino, Planet Hollywood, and the off-Strip Rio, which the company operates under a management agreement.
Caesars became the second Strip resort company to change its initial reopening plans. MGM Resorts International planned to reopen just New York-New York and Bellagio on Thursday but added MGM Grand Las Vegas and its non-gaming Signature condominium towers earlier this week.
Wynn Resorts will open both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore while Las Vegas Sands will open the Venetian hotel tower, but the Palazzo’s tower will remain closed. Other Strip properties that announced reopening plans for Thursday include Treasure Island, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and the Sahara.
Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.