Wynn CEO's Public, Published Plea: Reopen The Vegas Strip

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The last time the entire Las Vegas strip was shuttered was following John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. And that was only for a few days. 

At no other time since it was a one-road desert stopover that happened to allow both drinking and gambling has sin city - and the entire state of Nevada - been closed for this long.

Which is why Wynn Resorts (WYNN) - Get Report CEO Matt Maddox is pleading for at least parts of Nevada and the famed strip itself that the hotel chain he runs sits on to start reopening as soon as next month - in slow but steady stages, and with lots of precautions.

“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 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.  

Wynn was the first to shut down operations even before the state-wide closure of all non-essential businesses, 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.