Wynn Casinos Are First in Las Vegas to Return to 100% Capacity After Mass Staff Vaccinations

  • Wynn Las Vegas and Encore returned to 100% occupancy after inoculating 88% of workers
  • The NGCB stressed the importance of employee vaccinations in a recent memo to operators
  • Wynn took a strict “COVID free” stance, issuing a test or vaccine ultimatum to employees
  • Other Vegas operators have also launched staff vaccination programs to return to normality
Wynn Las Vegas and Encore
Wynn Resorts has opened its two Las Vegas casinos, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore (pictured above), at full capacity after receiving permission from the NGCB for vaccinating 88% of employees. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A return to normality

In a landmark moment for Las Vegas’s post-pandemic recovery, Wynn Resorts has become the first gambling operator to return its casinos to 100% capacity on the Las Vegas Strip.

Effective Monday, May 3, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) gave Wynn permission to reopen the gaming areas of both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort at full occupancy. The board has also allowed the operator to remove plexiglass dividers from all table games and slot machines. Mask requirements must remain in place, however.

88% of Wynn employees have now received their coronavirus vaccine

In a memo released last month, the NGCB stressed the importance of employee vaccinations in order for Nevada’s casinos to return to full capacity. More than 88% of Wynn employees have now received their coronavirus vaccine as part of a program that began in January.

All other Las Vegas casinos have now returned to 80% capacity following the latest easing of capacity limits in Clark County on Saturday.

How did Wynn do it?

Wynn Resorts began vaccinating its employees in January 18 at the University Medical Center Vaccination Clinic at Encore. The operator is also one of the only companies in the US with its own on-site coronavirus testing facility.

Our primary goal is to create the safest possible environment at Wynn”

Speaking last month, Wynn Resorts CEO Matthew Maddox affirmed the company’s strict stance on employee vaccinations. He told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that it was mandatory for his staff to be “COVID free,” whether that be through vaccinations or tests. “Our primary goal is to create the safest possible environment at Wynn, for both employees and guests,” the executive commented.

With more than 60% of its workers vaccinated in early April, the company issued an ultimatum to its remaining staff. It demanded that workers either receive their vaccinations or report for weekly tests to avoid disciplinary action. Although Wynn ultimately provided a choice, Maddox encouraged staff to receive their jabs and help the company return to normal operations.

Other vaccination efforts

In a bid to follow in Wynn’s footsteps, Las Vegas’s other casino operators have also committed to employee vaccination programs. Station Casinos, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts all have their own vaccination facilities. The Cosmopolitan hotel-casino on the Strip has even reportedly offered cash bonuses to staff for receiving their vaccinations.

During a visit to MGM’s Las Vegas vaccination site at the Mandalay Bay convention center last week, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak encouraged Vegas’s hospitality workers to receive their inoculations. “Do it for yourself and for our family,” he said. “Do it for your community. For your own sake, do it for your job.”

The NGCB has confirmed that all casinos in Nevada will return to full capacity once 60% of the state’s eligible population have received their vaccinations. Last month, Gov. Sisolak said he expected a return to full capacity in all of Nevada’s counties by June 1.

Clark County casinos eased occupancy restrictions from 50% to 80% on Saturday following the latest directive from the NGCB. Casinos in 12 of the state’s counties have already returned to full capacity, including Elko County, Lincoln County, and Douglas County.