Las Vegas is back in business. At the stroke of midnight, gaming floors reopened, ending a state-mandated two-and-a-half month closure to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Some of Hawaii’s favorite casinos such as The Cal and Fremont reopened their doors just after midnight. Officials say, they were pleasantly surprised at the turnout.
A spokesman for Boyd Gaming says the opening clearly shows there’s pent up demand after casinos shut down for more than two months. And at The Cal, guests were looking forward to more than just gambling.
“At 12:01 a.m. we had a gentleman who hadn’t been to The Cal in two years and he was the first one in line to get a bowl of oxtail soup right at 12:01 a.m.,” said David Strow, Vice-President of Corporate Communications at Boyd Gaming.
He says that gentleman was a former Hawaii resident. And until the 14-day quarantine is lifted for travelers to Hawaii, that would be most of the guests they’ll be getting at The Cal. Among them is Kye Lee, a former Makiki resident, now a Las Vegas local.
“I come here more than I should. I hope my wife doesn’t see this but it’s finally good to be back and good that they’re open,” said Lee.
Lee says it feels a little eerie because he’s used to seeing so many people at the Cal. Of course there are also the safety precautions like workers wearing masks, and all the hand sanitation stations, which he says are comforting.
“When you walk in they provide you with a mask if you need it. There are temperature check stations, so I feel pretty safe actually. I don’t feel uncomfortable at all,” he said.
Lee says it will take some time getting used to it all, but this day makes him feel closer to normal. Casinos also plan to make some adjustments as more people start coming.
“Gaming is a very social experience, so having to separate from each other is a little bit of a different experience for folks. So a little bit of a learning experience. But people are understanding why we do it and you know what, they’re just happy to be back,” said Strow.
Lee says coming to The Cal always had the feeling of being in Hawaii. So he’s looking forward to the day when Hawaii residents are able to travel freely and visit Las Vegas again. He’s not the only one.
“We’re just counting down the days for when our friends from Hawaii can come down here to Las Vegas again and come join us again, and we’ll be ready when you are,” said Strow.