LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Prepare for a gradual reopening of Caesars Entertainment properties on the Strip later this month.
“Certainly Caesars Palace will be one of the properties that we would open first,” said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio. “We’d probably open up value oriented property on the east side of the Strip and maybe three or four properties, depending upon consumer demand.”
Company leaders remain uncertain about a reopening date but are optimistic for the end of May.
“We recognize that a recovery will take time. We will be thoughtful and responsible in terms of how we bring the business back,” stated Rodio.
It is a business that was performing well before the temporary closures. The report revealed total revenue from January through the end of February was up 12% compared to the same time last year.
But shutting the doors caused a disruption.
“Temporary property closures over the last 15 days of the quarter, however, led to declines in gaming, hotel, food and beverage and other revenues, resulting in a 13.9% year-over-year decline in Las Vegas net revenue to $822 million.”
Despite the downturn, executives remain optimistic for guests returning in the fall. Rodio reported a significant bump in reservations following the release of the Las Vegas Raiders’ schedule.
“Our group bookings in the fourth quarter are actually still ahead of last year’s pace,” said Rodio. “Keep in mind, we have The Forum this year.”
The company also reported furloughing roughly 90% of employees at properties in North America, as well as corporate employees. Rodio wants to bring all staff back, but in a phased approach.
Caesars paid furloughed employees for the first weeks of the closure period. After that ended, employees were allowed to use their available paid time off.
The company is also paying 100% of medical insurance premiums for each furloughed employee enrolled in the Caesars health benefit plans.
Executives briefly talked about safety protocols when properties reopen. These include all staff wearing masks, more frequency of cleaning public surfaces, as well as limiting gaming and entertainment.