Vegas Chamber of Commerce chief says reopened casinos will be 'a different kind of Vegas'

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Vegas Chamber of Commerce President Tom Burns joined “America’s Newsroom” Thursday to explain how Americans' experiences in Sin City will change due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Casinos in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada reopened at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, 78 days after they were closed due to the pandemic.

“The health district in conjunction with local leadership in the gaming industries did a really remarkable job of making this an event for our employees and for our patrons as we go forward,” Burns told “America’s Newsroom.”

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Burns said gaming rooms will feature partitions and be deep cleaned as casinos take steps to ensure the health of workers and players alike.

“It’s going to be a different kind of Vegas, no doubt about it," Burns said, "but it is still going to be an amazing experience,”

Gov. Steve Sisolak's emergency order shutting down non-essential business to prevent the spread of COVID-19 idled Nevada’s key tourism and hospitality industry nearly 89 years to the day after gambling was legalized in 1931.

Now, property owners, state regulators and Sisolak, a Democrat who has been criticized for the closure, are balancing health concerns against the loss of billions of dollars a month in gambling revenue and almost half a million unemployed workers.

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Burns said that casinos will not have the crowds that were seen pre-pandemic because of social distancing guidelines. He also warned visitors looking for taste of Vegas' famous buffets that they "might want to wait a couple of years or some time" before things return to normal.

We have world-class food, we have world-class restaurants. They’re going to be available. They’re going to be open,” Burns said. “You’re still going to have a major experience, it’s just you’re not going to be able to get eggs and bacon off the buffet right now.”