that the capital of consumerism—Las Vegas—would get in on the action, too.
CEO Derek Stevens, who is reopening his two downtown Las Vegas properties—the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Hotel & Casino—on June 4, has just announced that he will be giving away 1,700 free flights to Las Vegas from more than 20 major U.S. cities. Participants can book a seat in the “Keep America Flying” promotion by signing up at theD.com on a first-come, first-serve basis. The free one-way flights are available through several US carriers including Allegiant, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines. Departure cities range from Appleton, Wisconsin and Austin, Texas to Minneapolis and San Francisco.
“As we begin to reopen our doors across the city, we are proud to help reinvigorate travel to Las Vegas while supporting airlines in America impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Stevens said in a statement.
It’s just the latest good news for travelers who love Las Vegas. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has announced that he will allow casinos to reopen on June 4. And a few dozen Vegas hotels, including the Sahara and Treasure Island, recently began accepting guests.
Besides free flights, travelers can also look forward to much cheaper Vegas vacations. Hotel and casino properties are offering rock-bottom rates starting as low as $30 per night capping out at $100 at the top-tier resorts. Through June 30, Marriott’s Bonvoy rewards program is allowing its members to gift or purchase points toward free nights at Vegas properties with a 60% bonus. Parking is going to be free, too, at places like the MGM properties and the Caesars group. (It’s usually $18 a day and up.)
The hope is that travelers will return to the tourism-dependent city, which has been hard-hit by closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Strip’s largest casino properties were each losing nearly $700,000 a day—on gaming alone—during the closure. According to another report, the Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts was losing $14.4 million daily while its 18 casinos were shut down.
But while it’s definitely going to be a cheaper Vegas, it’s not going to be the same Vegas when travelers return. Here are some of the changes that are in store:
• To maintain social distancing, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has announced limits in casinos, from six players at craps tables to just three at blackjack tables. All chips, cards and dice will be regularly sanitized to help protect guests.
• Resorts will be encouraging physical distancing. MGM Resorts recently released a “Seven-Point Safety Plan,” which announced that when social distancing isn’t feasible at its 18 properties, the company will mitigate as best as possible with plexiglass barriers and face shields.
Some casinos are installing hand-washing stations.
• Resorts will be installing thermal imaging cameras at entrances. Guests with temperatures above 100.4 degrees will be turned away.
• At Caesars and other properties, guests will be provided with masks and strongly encouraged to wear them throughout their visit. Some groups—like MGM—will require employees to wear masks.
• At MGM property restaurants, regular menus will be replaced by digital menus that guests can view on personal mobile devices or via QR codes in the company’s food and beverage outlets.
• Shows such as Cirque du Soleil will be closed until at least July 1.