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How The Coronavirus Is Changing Las Vegas | Sunday TODAY

for two months now one of the busiest brightest loudest places on the face of the earth has been a ghost town in the desert as non-essential businesses Las Vegas casinos were ordered to close in mid-march costing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars this week Caesars Entertainment announced as soon as it gets the green light from the governor the famed Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino will open quickly but what will Vegas look and feel like after the coronavirus and what's it like inside those massive empty casinos right now NBC's Steve Patterson takes us there in our Sunday spotlight lured by the glittering lights to the Vegas strip every year more than 40 million people flood in from all over the world some for the promise of a non-stop party others with the dream of hitting it big on the West End the iconic Caesars Palace proudly stands in its own golden glow a temple of American oculus this property of self is the icon and it's got such an incredible history the historic casino has been bursting with non-stop activity continuously since 1966 it was here that Larry Holmes once famously battled Muhammad Ali were singers from Sammy Davis you know blue eyes to Mariah Carey and Reba McEntire lit up the stage for sold-out crowds now only a drawn curtain graces the Coliseum stage as the corona virus pandemic darkened the world even the Vegas Strip went dim the streets silent Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodeo gave the order none before him had ever dreamed closed the doors turn off the lights the party's over it's very eerie and very saddening to think that it had operated non-stop for 54 years and then just comes to a screeching halt inside what was once an echo chamber of excess today you can hear a chip drop in the rows of once blaring machines impact blackjack tables that frame movies like The Hangover this isn't the real Caesar's Palace Lou now vast empty rooms representing an economic disaster Nevada is losing an estimated two million in gaming tax revenue every day there's no playbook to this here's plan a plan B I see we don't have that it's something that's casino this industry is dealing with right now and trying to get their arms around what do they do next industry leaders including Caesars have begun in veiling their plans for what reopening a casino during a global crisis would look like including strict guidelines on distancing limiting crowds and mandating masks while some casinos are experimenting with Plexiglas barriers on blackjack tables rodeo says no matter what there's too much at stake to gamble with getting it wrong rest assured we're not going to reopen until we're comfortable that we've done everything that we can and we followed all the health guidelines whether it's from local officials or the regulatory bodies that govern us in each of the jurisdictions for now the loudest sound is in eerie silence even Caesar himself appears to frown at but those who know the soul of the strip say the chips are never down for good Vegas is probably one of the most resilient places on the planet Vegas will come back from this there's no doubt in my mind a second act waiting in the wings for Sin City's return to form for Sunday today Steve Patterson Las Vegas you