Station Casinos unveils safety protocols as it awaits to reopening date for Las Vegas

Station Casinos unveils safety protocols as it awaits to reopening date for Las Vegas

  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
May 19, 2020 9:58 AM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Other

Las Vegas-based Station Casinos made public extensive health and safety guidelines on Monday in preparation for the company being able to reopen its more than a dozen Southern Nevada gaming properties, all of which have been closed since mid-March.

A date for allowing gaming to restart in Nevada is still being considered by Gov. Steve Sisolak and the state Gaming Control Board. The nation’s largest gaming state has seen its primary industry shut down for the last two months in an effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Station Casinos, the operating arm of Red Rock Resorts, which caters primarily to a locals audience, had previously announced it would reopen its casinos throughout the Las Vegas Valley in phases, starting with six of its major resorts – including its flagship Palace Station near the Strip and the Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch Resort – and a chain of smaller casinos.

Four other properties – including the Palms Casino, which recently underwent more than $690 million in renovations – would reopen only after the company assesses the performance of the initial reopenings.

“Some portion of our properties may remain closed for an extended period even if they are permitted to reopen under applicable governmental regulations and directives,” the company wrote in the March 11 SEC filing. “Our future financial results and cash flows will be impacted by a number of factors that are beyond our control.”

Last week, the company began providing COVID-19 testing for all Station Casinos’ workers and lease-partner employees. Among the health and safety guidelines spelled out in the plan include the requirement that all employees undergo FDA-authorized COVID-19 testing prior to returning to work. Employees will be tested at regular intervals thereafter.

In a statement, the company said its “new standards and protocols will meet or exceed the highest standards set by federal, state and local authorities and will be adapted as circumstances require.”

In addition, thermal scanners will be installed at all Station Casinos properties’ guest and employee entrances.

“When our guests walk through our reopened doors, we want them to know that their health and safety is our first priority,” Station Casinos President Richard Haskins said in a statement. “At the same time, we also want our team members to know that these changes will help safeguard their health as well, whether interacting with guests or each other.”

Other health and safety efforts include a requirement that employees wear personal protection equipment, such as face masks, that are consistent with health authority guidelines. Masks will be available to guests upon entering the property.

Touch-free hand sanitizing stations will be installed throughout the properties, and enhanced cleaning technologies will be utilized, such as electrostatic sprayers and hospital-grade disinfectants. The visibility and frequency of cleaning will be significantly increased throughout the public and non-public areas of the properties, and all employees will receive rigorous training on the company’s new health and cleanliness standards and protocols.

Under guidelines set by Nevada gaming regulators, Stations Casinos properties will be limited to no more than 50% of their maximum occupancy capacity, must increase the space between 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.

The company said it will advise guests to practice physical distancing by standing at least six feet away from any guests that are not part of their party while standing in lines, using elevators, or moving around the property. Restaurant tables, slot machines, and other physical layouts will be arranged to ensure appropriate distancing. Station casinos has not said how many of the company’s restaurants will open initially.

The 16-page report was filed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board but made public on the company’s website, according to a Station Casinos spokesman.

Station Casinos, which had paid its sidelined workforce through Saturday, announced on May 1 it was laying off 39% of its 14,000 fulltime employees after the casino closures were extended well into the month.

According to The Nevada Independent, letters the company filed with the state under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 said layoffs were expected to affect 6,434 of its employees, or 45% of its workforce.

Red Rock Resorts will report first-quarter results on Tuesday.

In addition to Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, and Palace Station, the company plans to open Santa Fe Station, Boulder Station, and Sunset Station along with its Wildfire properties. Along with the Palms, Texas Station, Fiesta Henderson, and Fiesta Rancho will remain closed.

Shares of Red Rock Resorts closed at $10.09 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, up 89 cents or 9.67%.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at hstutz@cdcgaming.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.