LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- MGM Resorts announced Monday the reopening of Park MGM, with changes to its smoking policy.
Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas will reopen Sept. 30 as the Las Vegas Strip's first smoke-free casino resort. The property closed in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Opening Park MGM and NoMad represent significant milestones, as they are the last of our properties to welcome back employees and guests alike,” MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said in a statement. “The last six months have presented extraordinary challenges and I could not be prouder of the MGM Resorts team for the tireless effort required to get us here. There is much work ahead as we remain focused on the health and safety of our employees and guests, but this is an important moment for us.”
The move to make Park MGM smoke free was rumored in mid July.
“As we looked toward our reopening, we identified an opportunity to be responsive to recurring guest demand for a fully non-smoking casino resort on The Strip," Anton Nikodemus, President of MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas Portfolio, said. "With an expansive Las Vegas portfolio, MGM Resorts is able to offer an array of options for visitors, all within the MGM Resorts family.”
Self parking will be free at Park MGM upon reopening, and valet will be non-operational, according to the resort company. Select restaurants, including Italian marketplace Eataly, will also reopen.
Park MGM will operate on MGM Resorts previously announced seven-point safety plan, including:
- Employee screening, temperature checks and training
- COVID-19 testing for employees
- Employees and guests are required to wear masks. Complimentary masks are provided
- A physical distancing policy with floor guides serving
- For areas where physical distancing presents challenges, plexiglass barriers have been installed, or other measures will be used to reduce risks
- Standalone handwashing stations
- Contactless Check-In
- Guestroom Attendants wear masks and gloves while cleaning each room and change gloves between guestrooms
Park MGM going smoke-free raises one big question: will it set a trend for other casinos?
“Las Vegas tends to react to the popular trend in hopes that it will be successful for us,” said UNLV Professor and Historian Michael Green.
Green said he thinks the casino will be successful and if it that’s the case, it’s more likely other casinos could follow.
“A couple of hotels tried it in the 90s but the 90s were not 2020. We didn’t even have a law in Nevada against smoking in a restaurant at that time,” said Green.
Now he says, the timing is right.
“One is yes, COVID being a respiratory virus in particular and we’re a little more conscious of the value and importance of our lungs … the other thing is fewer people have been smoking,” said Green.
Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition reports in 1998 about 30 percent of adults smoked. It dropped to around 16 percent by 2016.
“We have gyms at hotels. People are working out for heaven’s sake! Well, why not observe some of the other proprieties when it comes to health as long as they’re here?”
Green also said location matters.
“I think Park MGM is the logical one. If you think of the fact that when Jim Murren was at the company they stamped it as a different kind of place.”
Murren, who is the former MGM CEO and current COVID-19 task force leader, talked to FOX5 in April. He mentioned how some hotels like the Aria, have high tech air displacement systems that do a better job filtering air to help satisfy non-smoking and smoking guests.
“We have so many guests particularly from Asia that find that is an important element of their gaming experiences,” said Murren.
“High rollers might be inclined to smoke but is Park MGM really the place that was attracting the high-rollers? If you think within the MGM family you’re more inclined to think of the Bellagio,” said Green.