Las Vegas gaming floor employees are quietly taking steps this week to minimize the risk that possible coronavirus germs could infect players or workers. Examples include how decks of cards reportedly now get routinely shred or cleaned, and slot machines are disinfected more frequently.
The casino employees are the frontline soldiers in the battle to contain any potential transmission of COVID 19. Hotels and casinos are releasing few details about plans if an outbreak takes place in Las Vegas.
But KTNV crews visited several casinos this week. They reported that the Wynn doubled the number of workers applying disinfectant to slot machines in recent weeks.
Hand sanitizer was added to gaming tables. Dealers regularly use the alcohol-based cleaner before playing hands.
Gaming workers also use a sanitizer to clean tables between games. Cards are sanitized or shredded between rounds, KTNV said.
A bartender said he cleaned counters every 20-30 minutes at a gaming floor bar. That is more frequently than before the coronavirus scare.
At the Palazzo and Venetian there is 24/7 cleaning of doors, handles, counters and toilets in restrooms, KTNV said. Walls and escalator rails get cleaned frequently, too.
Hand sanitizer dispensers are found between tables. Decks of cards get shredded every few days, KTNV said.
Workers at the Mirage and at Treasure Island told the TV station there is more frequent cleaning at those properties, too. Sporadically, a few visitors and players along the Strip wear protective face masks.
Based on visits this week to unnamed Las Vegas venues, Anthony Curtis, founder of LasVegasAdvisor.com, told the Reno Gazette-Journal, “People are completely bonkers nervous about this.
“I stopped at three bars. Each had one or two patrons,” Curtis was quoted by the Gazette-Journal. “I talked to the bartenders and asked, ‘Is this what’s going on here?’ Nobody’s sure.”
Three Likely Coronavirus Patients Linked to Nevada
As of Saturday, Nevada has two positive cases of coronavirus, health officials told local media. One is an unnamed Clark County man in his 50s who recently traveled to Washington state and Texas. The other is a Reno-area man who recently was a passenger on a cruise ship.
A third case involves a man in his 40s from Toronto, who visited Las Vegas in late February to attend a conference, KSNV reported. The Southern Nevada Health District said in a statement it is unknown if the infection developed while he was in the state.
It is also unknown if he used local buses while in Las Vegas. He did use Toronto’s local transit for three days before getting diagnosed.
For those in Nevada who want to get tested for coronavirus, there are two approved labs where tests are processed. They are the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at UNR and the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
When asked about the potential economic impact on Las Vegas from coronavirus, Stephen M. Miller, an economics professor at UNLV, where he also directs the Center for Business and Economic Research, told the Gazette-Journal, “If coronavirus sticks around for three months — a quarter of the year — it would have a significant effect on visitors, taxable sales, gaming revenue and employment in the hospitality sector.”
So far, room rates in Las Vegas have dropped more than 10 percent, the newspaper reported. A couple of major conferences were canceled recently, while McCarran International Airport has intensified cleanings.
Las Vegas Will ‘Survive’
But there still is a sense of encouragement especially with the relatively strong economy at the start of the year, analysts told the Gazette-Journal. Even if the Las Vegas region gets impacted during a feared uptick of the coronavirus, a quick rebound is predicted.
“Vegas was hit really hard with the recession, but Vegas didn’t close,” Anthony Curtis was quoted by the newspaper when recalling recent history. “Vegas survives everything.”