The first Las Vegas pool party has reopened since the Strip was closed down in mid-March due to the outbreak of coronavirus that drew the city’s entertainment industry to a halt.
However, the usual scenes of wild drunken antics were replaced with a more subdued atmosphere, with social distancing reportedly encouraged, surfaces cleaned vigorously, and pools almost empty.
Thursday saw many of the city’s famous hotel casinos reopen, including MGM Resorts International’s Bellagio, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Signature, while Caesars Entertainment reopened Caesars Palace, Flamingo and Harrah’s.
However, while MGM said that it intended to keep nightclubs and pool parties closed, The Flamingo has opted to reopen its pool parties, with the first being opened to the public on Thursday.
Vegas sun-seekers celebrate the reopening of pool parties at the Flamingo GoPool in Las Vegas on June 4, after Hotel Casinos opened for the first time in 78 days having closed due to the coronavirus outbreak
Photos released on Thursday from parties showed the pools were fairly quiet compared to what would have typically been seen prior to the closures.
Small groups or individual sun-seekers were spotted in the water, sunbathing by the pool, or propping up the bars as bikini-clad staff served drinks.
The staff could also be seen cleaning working to keep the pool and surfaces around it particular clean to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading among the revelers.
Pictures from the pools showed that they were relatively quiet compared with how they would have been prior to the closures, with social distancing encouraged by the hotel
Pictured: While staff could be seen wearing masks, sunbathers took a more care-free attitude, lying on sunbeds by the pool with drinks
Staff can be seen working to keep the pool bar clean to reduce the risk that coronavirus could spread on surfaces to revelers
While experts believe coronavirus cannot remain infection in pool water, there is still a risk it can spread through the air around pools.
Speaking to The Atlantic, Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, explained that people in close-proximity with each other at a pool party are at greater risk than if someone was swimming laps.
‘If someone is swimming laps, that would be pretty safe as long as they’re not spitting water everywhere,’ she said. ‘But a Las Vegas–type pool party, that would be less safe, because people are just hanging out and breathing on each other.’
Pictured: A member of staff at the Flamingo GoPool is seen in a protective face mask and gloves as he cleans up around pool guests
Pictured: A member of staff at the Flamingo GoPool gives a guest a drinks refill while wearing a protective face mask
The full closure of the strip was the first time since the assassination of JFK, according to The Guardian. Even the 2017 mass shooting did not lead to a full closure.
In 2019, Sin City received 42.5 million visitors and is the economic hub for the state of Nevada, which will be hoping the reopening of casinos will provide some stimulus after more than two months of standstill.
However, the reopenings come as Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, continues to have the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the state.
According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, there are 8,935 cases of coronavirus in the state and there have been 429 deaths.
Pictured: Two showgirls pose for a photo at the reopening of Flamingo Las Vegas on June 4, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two two women are wearing protective face masks that match their outfits
Pictured: Caesars Entertainment Regional President Eileen Moore (center left), and General Manager of Flamingo Las Vegas Ken Janssen (center right) pose for photos with two showgirls at the reopening of Flamingo Las Vegas on June 4, 2020 in Las Vegas
Pictured: A statue of Julius Caesar wearing a golden face mask at Caesars Palace on June 4, 2020 as casinos begin to reopen to the public for the first time in 78 days
Hotel-casinos throughout the state are opened on Thursday as part of a phased reopening of the economy with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place due to the coronavirus. Pictured: A statue of Julius Caesar wearing a gold face mask, with Caesar’s Palace hotel casino in the background
On Thursday, the famous fountain outside the Bellagio hotel roared back into life on Thursday as casinos in the city started to reopen for the first time since coronavirus closures.
Crowds of people had lined up across Las Vegas late Wednesday night as after 78 days of shutdown, the public were allowed back into casinos transformed by new health and safety measures to combat the spread of the virus.
All staff wore masks or face shields as they returned for the first time since March 18 and gamblers were stationed further apart at tables as part of the new protocol.
People walk from Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip as the property opens for the first time since being closed on March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic, on June 4, 2020
A sign posted displays COVID-19 safety messages in the lobby of Caesars Palace
The strip was still quiet on Thursday as casinos begin to reopen in Las Vegas. Pictured: Pedestrian and vehicle traffic moves along the Las Vegas Strip
Showgirl Brittany Guinane (R) and Katie Wolfe, wearing face masks, pose at Flamingo Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip after the property opened for the first time since being closed on March 17 because of the coronavirus, June 4 2020
Guests play blackjack at a table with plexiglass safety shield dividers and only three seats for social distancing at Bellagio Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip after the property opened for the first time since being closed on March 17, June 4 2020
A worker cleans a railing at the Red Rock Resort, which has been closed since March 17 because of the coronavirus, June 4 2020
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS: Crowds line up outside The D Casino to count down to midnight when revelers can return to gambling for the first time in 78 days. The casino reopened at 12.01am after closing because of coronavirus on March 13
BELLAGIO, LAS VEGAS STRIP: A guest cheers as an employee of the Bellagio takes his temperature on arrival Thursday. It is one of many new safety measures as part of a phased reopening of the economy including social distancing guidelines
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS: A D Casino employee is seen wearing a face shield on the first night of reopening. Employees must wear masks or a face shields under new safety requirements imposed to stop the coronavirus spread
Many casinos have also constructed glass partitions between slot machines and gamblers at tables to keep them apart and in certain hotels guests were required to take a temperature check before they entered.
Hotel-casinos in suburban Sin City were the first to open at 12:01 a.m., but larger locations such as Caesar’s and Bellagio opened later Thursday morning.
Wynn Resorts, the Venetian and Palazzo opened later Thursday morning, along with the landmark STRAT casino and tower, Derek Stevens’ downtown properties and others around Las Vegas owned by Boyd Gaming and Red Rock Resorts.
The biggest casino operators, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, won’t immediately open all their Strip properties. Executives said they want to see how many show up.