Nevada was one of the hardest-hit states from the pandemic’s economic fallout, as its entertainment and tourism-driven economy was shuttered for two months.
But that’s all changing, particularly for Las Vegas, as the state’s athletic commission has sanctioned two UFC events and two Top Rank boxing shows in the city over the next two weeks, and many casinos on the Strip and downtown confirmed reopening dates that have been approved by the governor.
The decisions will likely jump start a city that has been on lockdown since March 14, throwing thousands of service workers and others out of a job.
First up is a UFC match this Saturday night without fans in attendance at the UFC Apex Arena. That will be followed by a UFC 250 pay-per-view show on June 6 at the same venue.
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In addition, Top Rank boxing is expected to hold matches at the MGM Grand on June 9 and June 11.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said Tuesday night that sporting events and casinos could reopen if they followed strict social distancing and other health protocols. These include temperature checks, masks, frequent sanitizing, handwashing stations, social distancing, frequent changing of card decks and chips, and limits on slot seating and table games spacing.
UFC President Dana White was a particular advocate for staging matches during the lockdown. He staged three shows in Jacksonville, Florida, earlier this month after several locations fell through in states other than Nevada.
The UFC match Saturday will feature former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley facing Gilbert Burns.
“We’ve taken every precaution possible,” said Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. “I don’t think you’re going to find a safer place to come than Las Vegas by June 4, with the protocols that we’ve put in place, than the testing that we’ve put in place, with the contact tracing that will be in place by that time.”
While the casinos are reopening, not every amenity will be available. Many restaurants will remain shuttered, and pools, clubs, sporting areas like tennis and bowling alleys, conference areas and buffets will also be closed. To make up for their loss, many venues will open with free parking and some are waiving resorts fees for returning customers.
Among the casinos reopening on June 4 are the MGM Resorts International venues Bellagio, New York-New York, the MGM Grand and the Signature at MGM Grand. Caesars Palace and the Flamingo will reopen on the same date.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Santa Fe Station, Boulder Station, Palace Station and Sunset Station and Wildfire properties will also be open.
Wynn Resorts will open the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, while the Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s The Venetian tower will also open. The Sahara Las Vegas, The Strat, The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Aliante, Cannery, Sam’s Town, Fremont, California and Jokers Wild will also swing the doors open on June 4.
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