Wynn Resorts, one of the most luxurious casinos in Las Vegas, became the first in town to return to 100% occupancy just in time for its summer poker series. In addition, the property founded by casino mogul Steve Wynn in 2005, removed plexiglass dividers from all of its table games and slot machines.
Face masks are still required, per Clark County’s COVID-19 guidelines, but the tourist hotspot is inching closer to its pre-pandemic state. Most businesses — restaurants, casinos, bars — within the county now operate at 80% occupancy. Glass partitions are still in place in most poker rooms and casino floors.
Wynn, however, recently forced a mandate on its employees: get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests. The purpose of the mandate was appease the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB). If 80% of the casino staff got vaccinated, Wynn could return to full capacity and remove the plexiglass dividers in the casino.
As of Monday, 88% of the staff have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. For that reason, Wynn is now permitted to ditch the glass partitions and return to full occupancy. That could, and likely will, lead to an increase in business for the mega-resort just in time for its biggest poker tournament ever.
As part of the Wynn Summer Classic, which begins May 27, the property will host a $10,000 buy-in event starting June 25, which guarantees at least a $10 million prize pool. The historic tournament will be one of the first non-super high rollers or WSOP events in Las Vegas to ever reach an eight-figure prize pool.
Not everyone is thrilled with Wynn’s mandate
Wynn’s return to full occupancy should be a boost to the business, and Las Vegas in general, but many anti-vaxxers are dissatisfied with the Wynn essentially forcing the vaccine on its employees.
The United States has seen a significant increase in anti-vaxxers in recent years, even before the pandemic. In a January 2020 survey, two months before the country went into lockdown mode, 84% of respondents said they believe it’s important for children to be vaccinated. That’s down by 10% compared to the 94% pro-vaccination sentiment in 2001.
Anti-vaxxer sentiment continues to grow as the movement continues to rail against the COVID-19 vaccine. According to experts who recently spoke with The New York Times, the US will likely never reach COVID-19 herd immunity due to far too many Americans refusing to get vaccinated.
As of May 3, 40% of Americans are fully vaccinated and 56% have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In Las Vegas, the magic number is 60% of Clark County residents getting vaccinated. If the county reaches that threshold, the Nevada Gaming Control Board will permit all casinos to return to full capacity. Officials are looking to reach that benchmark by June 1, and the county is one pace to get there.