Caesars Palace re-opens to togas, face masks

Ciara looked great as usual. Her hair done up, her toga outfit clinging to every curve. Her tray filled with various beverages.

But Ciara had an even more alluring look. Her face was covered with a mask. She still makes a hell of a cup of coffee.

Like all employees at venerable Caesars Palace, wearing a mask is mandatory in this age of coronavirus. Even Caesar himself wears one.

At the iconic Strip property where Evel Knievel jumped over the fountains on a motorcycle, where Formula 1 cars raced around the property, where some of the greatest boxing matches were held and where fortunes were made and lost, things got busy quickly Thursday morning.

Customers were greeted with a nice surprise — free parking — and got their temperature checked at the door. Nobody seemed to mind. They were there to gamble, to walk around and shop at the Forum Shops, make their way to the various bars and forget their troubles.

“We usually stay downtown when we visit Vegas,” said Shanon Nakayama, who was with her husband Ryan visiting from Anaheim, Calif. “We’re here to celebrate our anniversary and it’s our first trip without our four kids.”

Ryan said he was hoping to get as much of a “Vegas experience” as possible.

“I want to hit the restaurants, go on the High Roller, hit the pool and be in the casino as much as I can,” he said.

Unlike several Las Vegas casinos, Caesars opted not to install plexiglass at its blackjack, craps and roulette tables. Players who sat down to gamble felt like it was business as usual, save for the masks the dealers wore.

“We’re here to gamble,” said Las Vegas’ Desiree Delrosario, who was visiting with her mother Theresa. “We’re at the high tier here and they have great perks. They take care of their customers.”

It has been an interesting period for Caesars. The parent company is in the midst of a sale to Eldorado Resorts. The Colosseum, the property’s popular event venue, will remain dark for the foreseeable future. The Bacchanal buffet isn’t opening anytime soon and Cleopatra’s Barge, the longtime pickup spot, which has been converted into a mini showroom, remains in dry dock.

But that may be changing soon. Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, was on hand for Thursday’s reopening and he is scheduled to perform at the Barge later this month, assuming the next phases of the state’s reopening are approved.

Despite the shutdown, the iconic brand remains popular. Visitors from around the world know what Caesars Palace represents and it endures as a result. The fountains are on Thursday and the energy was returning throughout the property as gusts haul roller bags to check into the hotel while others hit the slot machines and the tables.

“I’ve missed the atmosphere here and be able to go to all the restaurants and eat,” Delrosario said. “It’s good to be back.”

About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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