Nevada Casinos to Remain Closed as Governor Announces Phased Reopening

  • Governor says Nevada is not ready for businesses to reopen at this time, including casinos
  • Must see a decline in COVID-19 cases and meet federal guidelines to begin phased reopening
  • Las Vegas Mayor and casino operators are ready to see gaming venues back up and running   
business card with the word reopen printed on it
Governor Steve Sisolak has announced plans to reopen Nevada in phases, with casinos set to remain closed until further notice. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Decline in COVID-19 cases required

Governor Steve Sisolak has announced plans for a phased approach to reopening the state of Nevada.

Joined by a panel of health experts during a press conference, the governor pointed out that the state is in a better spot than it was six weeks ago. However, he confirmed that casinos will remain closed until further notice, along with other non-essential businesses.

The state must continue to see a decline in COVID-19 cases and move through the federal guideline phases in order to resume regular business operations. The governor wants to ensure that Nevada reopens right the first time.

Once the governor finished speaking, he tweeted a link to his full press conference:

Currently at phase zero

Governor Sisolak believes the state is at what he is calling phase zero. As of right now, he cannot give a firm date as to when phase one would begin in Nevada. The governor plans to update the public to prepare for businesses to reopen, just not at this time.

He is currently working to update previous directives to meet the needs to move to phase one. For the state to move into the first phase of reopening, the governor and experts he has selected must find that certain criteria have been met.

This criteria includes a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases that is consistent and sustainable over a 14-day period, including reviewing hospitalizations. The state must be able to maintain hospital capacity without crisis standards of care. Hospitals must also have a sustained ability to protect vulnerable populations, as well as confirm that protective measures are in place.

Extending the stay at home order

Sisolak issued a 30-day stay at home order on March 17. Only essential businesses could remain open. Casinos closed at this time. By April 1, the order had been extended through the end of the month.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman was not approving of the closure and wants to see the casinos reopen as quickly as possible. Protests have started in the state as well, with individuals wanting to return to work.

The governor’s closure order has helped to slow the spread of the virus and keep the number of deaths from COVID-19 down. Sisolak feels that ending some or the majority of the restrictions now would be detrimental.

The emergency is not over yet, but it has entered a new phase.”

In the next few weeks, Sisolak will announce plans for phase one of reopening the state’s economy. Once the curve is flattened, he wants to keep it that way.

Wynn Resorts pushing for reopening

The governor’s announcement that the state is not ready to reopen comes at a time when operators are ready to get back to work. As we previously reported, Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox has called on the governor to allow a conditional reopening of Nevada casinos in mid-to-late May.

Maddox released an opinion piece praising Sisolak and his efforts in dealing with COVID-19. He talked about a gradual reopening for casinos, revealing how they could start with reduced occupancy and physical distancing measures in place. Temperature checks could also be included with everyone required to wear a mask.

Wynn Resorts is developing its own health and safety measures for when operations are able to resume. Restrictions would include a limited number of people on elevators at any one time.