Barry and Larry White, and Larry’s wife Carolyn, were welcomed into The Venetian at 9 a.m. Suited personnel guided the Lancaster, Calif., residents to a simple kiosk, where a female security officer observed a screen. A scanner gauged their head temperatures.
The masked official said, “As long as you’re green, you’re good,” and waved them — all without missing a step — to the check-in counter. They were the property’s first official patrons in 11 weeks.
They’ve been Venetian regulars since it opened in 1999, so many staff greeted the familiar faces. Plus, Thursday represented the 62nd birthdays for twins Barry and Larry, who won $30,000 here a year ago with a straight flush at a Crazy For Poker table game.
“They comped us the nicest suite,” said Barry after the trio had also taken the property’s first gondola ride, inside on the second floor, since the Strip shuttered. “Stunning bedrooms, a living room, dining room.”
“They’re not whales,” Carolyn said of the successful flooring-installation siblings. “More like dolphins.”
All had plenty of room to roam as the property slowly came to life by early afternoon. All employees wore masks. The three Whites, all originally from Picton, between Toronto and Ottawa, refused such covering.
Custodians could be seen wiping surfaces of chairs, counters and slot-machine surfaces. Two female officers strolled with leashed German shepherds. In the Grand Canal shops, few were open. By far the most popular nook was Shoe Palace, where 10 people awaited the glass doors opening.
Inside Club Tattoo, several employees busily swiped everything with a cleaning agent. In a food-court area, a guy at Bonnano’s Pizzeria dusted two pies with mozzarella. An older woman strolled by dragging a green suitcase on wheels, a little dog yipping from a ventilated compartment.
Most of its sportsbook seating was off-limits, surrounded by red tape. Horse races from Golden Gate Fields and Belmont Park, showed on two of five large screens.
“Wire to wire! Open ’em up! Open ’em up! Wire! Yes!” barked one high-pitched customer, sitting in one of the few available seats, as Race 7 at Belmont ended in a tight battle. Another patron angrily, loudly and repeatedly cussed at himself.
Vegas is back. As long as you’re green, you’re good at the Venetian.