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Wynn CEO Calls for Reopening of Las Vegas Strip in May

Wynn CEO Matt Maddox is calling for parts of the Nevada economy to start reopening next month, with the famous Las Vegas strip reopening in the middle of May.

Wynn Resorts  (WYNN)  CEO Matt Maddox is calling for parts of the Nevada economy to start reopening next month, with the famous Las Vegas strip that the Wynn and Wynn-owned Encore hotels sit on to reopen toward the middle of May.

“I understand that if we incrementally reopen we might have to pull back if a spike in cases occurs that jeopardizes our health care system capacity,” he said in an opinion piece published by the Nevada Independent newspaper. “However, the only way to cross this river is one stone at a time, and we need to put our feet in the water before it is too late.”

The opinion piece was accompanied by a 23-page proposal detailing steps Wynn is taking to keep its casino, hotel rooms and facilities sanitized and safe, down to details such as giving all guests amenity bags that include hand sanitizer and face masks, as well as a “COVID-19 awareness card.”

Among other proposed safeguards: Reopening with reduced occupancy, physical distancing measures, temperature checks and no large gatherings, as well as rules on the number of guests in elevators and limos, and rules on where and when to wear masks.

Like many others, Maddox pointed to lack of sufficient testing for COVID-19 as the main obstacle to reopening, though he anticipates a ramp-up in Nevada in the coming weeks.

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The casino operator was the first in the state to shut down operations amid the outbreak and is committed to paying its staff for 60 days through May 15, which is costing the company about $3 million a day or $180 million for the two months, he said.

Most businesses on the Vegas Strip have been shuttered since mid-March, when Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, resulting in the first complete shutdown of the strip since the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Maddox and other top Wynn executives in late March said they would forego between 33% and 100% of their salaries for the rest of the year to offset the impact of expense cuts at the casino company during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of Wynn were down 2.85% at $76.22 in trading on Monday.

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