Las Vegas has reopened, but as these fascinating pictures show, it’s not looking its usual self – it’s looking more surreal than ever.
That’s because it has brought in a raft of measures aimed at keeping visitors safe in the coronavirus era – there are big plastic shields at the casino tables, dealers wearing masks, martini-dispensing bartenders kitted out with medical glove-wear and optional ‘Covid surcharges’ attached to bills.
The images presented here come courtesy of writer, podcaster and Vegas expert Michael Trager, who arrived in the city when it opened on June 4 and who has now published an intriguing account of what it’s like staying in its epic hotels on his travel site – TravelZork.
A dealer in a face mask at a baccarat table at The D Casino & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas
Virus-free gambling: Plastic shielding at a Wynn Las Vegas blackjack table
He starts off by explaining that Vegas shutting in the first place was a truly bizarre concept.
He writes: ‘Nobody ever thought we would be saying the phrase “Vegas is open”. Vegas is not supposed to close. It’s unnatural, you don’t close Vegas. Vegas is always in motion. The last time Vegas closed was the 25th of November, 1963. It was for John F. Kennedy’s funeral.’
Michael is American, but lives in London, and explains that he arrived in Vegas after a ‘bizarre but seamless cheese and pickle sandwich journey’ with BA.
A craps table fitted with plastic shields at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino
A hand-washing station at the Bellagio. The last time Vegas closed was the 25th of November, 1963, for John F. Kennedy’s funeral, reveals writer Michael Trager
Michael said that there are thermal cameras at all the entrances at Wynn, left. On the right is a picture of a notice at Caesars Palace
At Caesars Palace tables are socially distanced and a maximum of three people are allowed at each one
A table at the Bellagio. Michael is American, but lives in London, and explains that he arrived in Vegas after a ‘bizarre but seamless cheese and pickle sandwich journey’ with British Airways
An optional Covid-19 surcharge was added to one of Michael’s bills, left. On the right – how Caesars isn’t gambling with safety at the tables
All Caesars Palace guests have to undergo a temperature check upon arrival (left). The picture on the right shows the gloved hand of a bartender at the hotel
A barrier at the posh SW Steakhouse at the opulent Wynn Las Vegas hotel
Pictured left is Michael having a manicure at the Wynn spa. The image on the right shows the writer and podcaster getting a haircut at Wynn
His first hotel was Caesars Palace Las Vegas, a property he has stayed at several times before.
The first thing he noticed was that there was no valet parking.
‘It was time to reacquaint myself with the joys of self-parking,’ he writes.
Before checking in he ‘had a nice walk through the property’.
He writes: ‘The excitement tends to build as you near the “iconic” Caesars Palace lobby area. Things were familiar but different. I mean, you usually don’t have so many or any people wearing masks and you definitely got the impression that there was some change in the air.’
Las Vegas photographed by Michael this week as they make their way to work
Michael told MailOnline Travel that in general the Vegas safety rules are ‘very confusing’ as all the properties have different policies
The picture on the left shows a masked guest on a slot machine at Wynn Las Vegas. On the right is a social distancing message in a Caesars Palace elevator
A Caesars craps dealer cleans a table after a player leaves
Pictured left is the Wynn Las Vegas in-room sanitizing kit. Pictured right – a reassuring message on some Wynn cutlery
Cleaned and sealed: Caesars Palace rooms now carry stickers assuring guests that they are about to enter a clean environment
Pictured left is a masked Michael in the lobby of Caesars Palace. And on the right are two masked Caesars Palace guards
Michael in Las Vegas in the 1970s with his mother. He said that he was always ‘dressed proper’ for visits to the city
After checking in he discovered that one of the new Covid-19 procedures in place was ‘no housekeeping’ and ‘no room service’.
In his article Michael questions whether this measure is strictly necessary, since his next hotel, Wynn Las Vegas, laid on all its regular services, but with safety protocols attached.
He told MailOnline Travel that in general the Vegas safety rules are ‘very confusing’ as all the properties have different policies.
He writes on his site: ‘Not only were all the services provided, but Wynn Las Vegas also provided safety items such as sanitizer and masks in the room. A far cry from Caesars, which does not even provide bottles of water at check-in due to “safety” reasons.’
While at the hotel Michael enjoyed a socially distanced manicure and a haircut, as well as a truly opulent bedroom.
He adds: ‘Wynn continues to impress on all levels. You feel safe at Wynn Resorts… they are following protocols and providing service, imagine that.’
To read the full account of Michael’s stay in Vegas, visit TravelZork. Click here for ZorkCast Podcasts and here for the TravelZork YouTube page.
The FCO currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
Business as usual – with protection: A craps table at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino