Las Vegas casinos are preparing for a post-shutdown world even without having a time frame for when they’ll be able to reopen. They have been testing a possible step in consumer safety in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The gaming tables and physical sportsbooks are closed in Nevada’s commercial gaming capital, just as casinos are shut down throughout the country while social distancing mandates take hold. But when the casinos reopen, some hope to have “safety shields” in place as one of their measures to help protect gamblers.
A Las Vegas-based company called Screaming Images is testing out the clear acrylic screens, which would divide seats at slot machines and gaming tables, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review- Journal.
The acrylic panels would separate players from dealers, and from each other. They would be used at slot machines and gaming tables.
Screaming Images principal James Swanson noted that the pieces are recyclable and the shields are likely not going to be a permanent measure, he told the Review-Journal.
First word of a Las Vegas casino installing sneeze guard-style dividers at table games (similar to photo): El Cortez. pic.twitter.com/j9zGGPaRtT— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) April 27, 2020
“We’re going to have a program put together to make sure it’s not just thrown away in the trash can,” Swanson told the paper.
Screaming Images has previously specialized in items like building wraps, event graphics, banners to go around fences and poles at festivals and window graphics, according to its website. One of its most notable projects was to cover a replica Statue of Liberty at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard with a giant replica Vegas Golden Knights jersey.
The El Cortez Casino in downtown Las Vegas installed prototype shields around their blackjack tables and at other spots on the gaming floor.
El Cortez general manager Adam Wiesberg told the Review-Journal that they were still considering their plans for whenever the facility can open its doors again, including the possible use of the Screaming Image protectors.
It’s worth noting that the plastic guards would not be a substitute for social distancing (i.e. the need to stay 6 feet apart from other people to avoid spreading germs).
There is a great deal of controversy surrounding when the casinos and other businesses in Las Vegas would open. Mayor Carolyn Goodman went on CNN recently and told Anderson Cooper that “I’d love everything open because I think we’ve had viruses for years that have been here.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a stay-at-home order in April 1, effective through at least April 30.