MGM Resorts International will reopen its first Strip resorts after the coronavirus shutdown with only a quarter of hotel rooms available for guests, a company executive said.
“We think this sets up a very safe, controlled environment. We think that’s essential,” acting President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said Tuesday in an interview on NBC’s "Today" show.
“In the short-term, Vegas done safely, I think, is still Vegas,” he said.
MGM plans to open its Las Vegas resorts in phases, with the Bellagio and New York-New York likely the first to emerge.
Casinos statewide have been closed since mid-March, when Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses shut down to help slow the spread of the virus.
While some businesses — retail stores, hair salons and dine-in restaurants — have been allowed to reopen, Hornbuckle said he expects casinos will get the green light to resume operations in the next few weeks.
“Over time, I think there will be three buckets of folks who come (to Las Vegas). Some will come immediately, irrespective of the health concerns,” Hornbuckle said.
“I think there’s a bucket of people that we need to convince that it’s a safe, fun and encouraging environment, and I think there’s a third bucket of folks who will wait to see how this plays out. They will probably visit Las Vegas next year,” he said.
Earlier this week, MGM released a seven-point health and safety plan for reopening that includes increased sanitation, social distancing and contactless check-in at hotels.
MGM will also require employees to wear masks and will encourage guests to wear face coverings, too.
More than 60,000 MGM employees have been furloughed as a result of pandemic.
Health officials today reported more than 170 new cases of COVID-19 in Clark County. Statewide, 6,394 coronavirus cases have been reported, along with 321 related deaths.