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7 photos and videos that show what Las Vegas looked like on reopening weekend

June 09, 2020
6 min read
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In what's sure to be one of the biggest signals of the travel industry's return, Las Vegas opened its doors this past weekend.

Many of the major casino resorts — including Treasure Island (now in the Radisson family), Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio Resort and Casino, MGM Grand, New York-New York, Caesars Palace, Golden Nugget, Planet Hollywood, the Venetian and more — welcomed back overnight guests for the first time since the pandemic forced businesses everywhere to shut down.

Of course, it's still not quite business as usual in Sin City. Pool parties remain paused for now, and pools will have to adhere to social distancing guidelines. You'll have to wait a bit longer for live entertainment, shows and even nightclubs to reopen, too. Not all restaurants have resumed operations, and poker rooms remain shuttered.

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So, while it's not exactly the Vegas we all know and love, it's certainly something for travelers who have been eagerly waiting for The Strip to flip the lights back on.

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Almost immediately after Vegas opened its doors, the casinos were filled with gamblers — and, of course, the tweets quickly picked up steam. At The D Hotel and Casino, one traveler said the "gaming floor [was] packed."

But some slot machines are blocked or turned off to help visitors maintain a safe physical distance from one another. USA Today's Dawn Gilbertson tweeted from Vegas last week, saying "every other slot machine [is] turned off 'for your safety.'"

Returning travelers should expect to see plenty of plexiglass, too, especially at the gaming tables.

Eagle-eyed visitors did point out a few new developments, though. Namely: masks.

Related: Where you can buy face masks for travel right now

While they certainly pose a risk for video surveillance for safety and fraud prevention, casinos are taking creative steps to find a balance. For example, at the Venetian, "masks that obscure the entire face are prohibited." In addition, if you want to gamble you'll have to briefly lower your mask to identify your age in compliance with Nevada gaming requirements.

That said, it doesn't look like people are doing much in the way of social distancing.

Even with so many visitors, Ashley Leonard, a TPG reader based in Newport Beach, California, noted "the casino didn't have the normal Vegas buzz" on a trip there this weekend.

Still, the show must go on. Whitney Phoenix, a famous piano player at the Bellagio, is already back to performing in the Petrossian caviar bar in the Bellagio's lobby, according to Gilbertson. The city really kicked things off with a bang, and frequent Vegas visitors were no doubt thrilled to see Phoenix.

The changes to the Vegas experience extend far beyond masked entertainers and dealers. Leonard said he had his temperature taken by a thermal scanner upon entering his hotel, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. There were also plenty of signs asking patrons to stay 6 feet apart, and no more than four people were allowed in the elevator at a time.

(Photo courtesy of Ashley Leonard)

The room had a plastic seal on the door that you break when you enter, indicating it had been cleaned, Leonard noted, and the room was spotless. But the minibar was unplugged and locked.

His hotel also provided extra masks and two bottles of hand sanitizer (talk about perks!) and the room had been equipped with an Amazon Alexa that allowed touchless control of the room temperature, lights, drapes and even the "do not disturb" feature.

As far as room service? Hotel staff members won't enter the room, but they push the table into the entrance of the door, where they'll put a tray down. That way, you can stay inside the room for contactless delivery. The check is also included in the tray, as well as a pen that's disposed of after use.

He also noted it was difficult to get restaurant reservations as they're operating at 50% capacity — so if you're heading to Vegas, you'll want to plan in advance as much as possible.

The pool at the Encore was busy, too, although lounge chairs were spaced 6 feet apart to allow for social distancing.

(Photo courtesy of Ashley L.)
(Photo courtesy of Ashley Leonard)

Of course, in some parts of Vegas, it may seem like nothing has changed at all.

On June 4, the Bellagio relaunched its iconic fountain for the first time in three months.

No word yet on how the ducks that have been occupying the fountain for the last few months feel about the situation, though.

Bottom line

It's no doubt been a long journey, and so much is still changing and evolving. But this is a giant step for the travel industry on the path back to normalcy.

As travel resumes around the world, only you can make the extremely personal decision about when you'll hit the road again. And before you book any trips, we still recommend you talk to your doctor and follow the guidance of health and government officials and research local travel restrictions.

But for travelers who are eager to get back out there, Vegas is clearly one destination that's ready to get the party restarted. It will just involve more plexiglass and cleaning supplies than before.

Featured image by Getty Images

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases