MGM’s seven-point health and safety plan includes mandatory usage of PPE, other measures Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · May 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm MGM Resorts International said its casinos nationwide will have self-screening temperature checks at all entrances for customers and employees while requiring its workforce to utilize masks and other personal protective equipment as the company moves to reopen properties shuttered since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Our properties will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only okay, it’s critically important,” MGM Resorts acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle said Tuesday. “We will continue providing the hospitality experiences we are known for, but we must do so safely.” MGM Resorts became the latest casino operator to release a set of health and safety guidelines, following Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment. The Las Vegas-based company, which has more than two dozen properties in eight states, outlined a seven-point plan with protocols and procedures to adapt their businesses in the face of COVID-19. Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International photographed for Premier Magazine on August 15, 2017. (R. Marsh Starks / UNLV Creative Services) Hornbuckle said the plan will be implemented at all the company’s properties and was developed in consultation with Dr. Shannon Magari, who acted as lead health and safety advisor for this process. Dr. Magari is the vice president of health sciences for Colden Corp., an occupational health, safety, and environmental firm. “Preparing for the moment we can re-open our doors, MGM Resorts focused on developing a plan that puts health and safety at the center of everything we do,” Hornbuckle said. “Our ‘Seven-Point Safety Plan’ is the result of months of consultations with public health experts and outlines our comprehensive approach to welcoming guests back safely.” In addition to temperature checks and the mandated use of PPE by employees, MGM has suggested the suggested usage of masks by customers, who will be offered masks free of charge. Also, a six-foot physical distancing policy is in place where feasible. Plexiglass barriers will be installed in areas throughout casinos and lobbies, where appropriate. Signage will be installed throughout properties to guide employees and guests on how to safely practice physical distancing. Handwashing stations and enhanced sanitation will be evident throughout the company’s resorts; heating ventilation and air condition controls, along with air quality, will be improved to mitigate the risk of virus transmission; and protocols will be established for potential incidents of COVID-19. MGM Resorts is also enhancing its digital technology for guests, including hotel-check-in processes through mobile applications and digital room keys, and digital menus at restaurant outlets. Nevada gaming regulators last week approved health and safety guidelines for reopening casinos and other aspects of the property that were written as a preliminary set of guidelines for casino operators of all sizes, from large Strip resorts to locations with 15 slot machines. Much of the Nevada guidelines dealt with the casino floor, which will be limited to no more than 50% their maximum occupancy capacity, must increase the space between their slot machines, and will be required to limit the seating at table games – three players for blackjack, six for craps, four for roulette, and four for poker. Casino operators are required to submit their own health and safety plans to the Nevada Gaming Control Board before reopening properties. None of MGM Resorts’ properties are located in states that have scheduled reopenings, however, Mississippi leaders have hinted at reopening by Memorial Day Weekend. In Las Vegas, where MGM operates 13 gaming and non-gaming properties in Strip, Hornbuckle said earlier this month would initially reopen Bellagio and New York-New York in a phased reopening when Nevada gaming regulators give companies the go-ahead to restart operations. MGM Resorts, one of the nation’s largest casino operators, furloughed 63,000 employees Nevada’s gaming industry has been closed since March 18 as part of the shut-down of non-essential businesses ordered by Gov. Steve Sisolak in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Last week, Sisolak reopened a portion of Nevada’s economy after saying the state had met several benchmarks dictated by health professionals. However, the gaming industry would remain closed. In an interview of NBC’s Today Show Tuesday, Hornbuckle said he hoped Nevada’s casino could reopen by early June, if not sooner. “If our counts stay reasonably low and things don’t escalate, we’ll be opening the casinos sometime late this month, first part of June,” he said in an interview Today’s Craig Melvin. Hornbuckle said he believes customers will return to Las Vegas, but it will take a while, saying there are “three buckets” of Las Vegas visitors. “I think there’s those who will come immediately, irrespective of the health concerns,” Hornbuckle said. “I think there’s a bucket of people that we need to convince that it’s safe and it’s still a fun and encouraging and engaging environment. And there’s a third bucket of folks who I think will wait and see how this thing plays out and ultimately come and enjoy Las Vegas probably next year.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.