MGM Resorts gets ready to debut three of its casinos and dozens of restaurants on Thursday with new health and safety measures in place to prevent customers and employees from spreading COVID-19.
Staff started returning to work on Monday for training that began with overall health and safety measures at the resort, followed by specific restaurant protocols and tasks for their jobs.
“I will say that our employees, when they came back in, they totally understand, welcome the change, and all of them were actually pleased to see all the steps that we have taken,” says Dominique Bertolone, the senior vice president of food and beverage strategy at MGM Resorts International.
In the 78 days since Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered nonessential businesses including casinos to close, Bertolone says he’s planned for how restaurants and bars would look when customers return. While the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued its own guidelines for casinos, MGM Resorts came up with additional protocols to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A restaurant like Sadelle’s with its entrance inside the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens tends to draw large crowds waiting for a table. No more. Instead, diners will enter their name and phone number to receive a text when their table is ready.
“This will give you the opportunity to explore the resort, go get a drink, and come back at the appropriate time,” Bertolone says.
Customers will receive a QR code they can scan on their phone to see the menu. Those without a phone can still request a hard copy of the menu, a one-time use piece disposed after use.
“You will be able to scroll down, pressing the area you want to go to. And please note that this will be for consistent across all MGM Resorts International properties for our guests who visit all of our restaurants,” Bertolone says.
Another new way to make the experience very Vegas brings some of the celebrity chefs right to the table via a QR code. At the end of a meal, when the check comes, diners at restaurants such as Prime Steakhouse at the resort will receive a message from Jean George Vongerichten thanking customers for dining.
“It’s really something special right? That’s what we’re here for,” Bertolone says.
Tables, spread six feet apart. will feature signs noting which have been sanitized. Markers under the table legs show if a table moves and needs to be reset.
At fine dining restaurants, customers receive a pouch where they can store their masks while they eat and a purse hanger to keep it off the table.
At Mayfair Supper Club, where entertainment is part of the meal, Bertolone says the resort is still working on how that will look. Hallmark table-side service, such as the prime rib presentation at Mayfair, is gone, with chefs plating dishes in the kitchen.
Bartenders have their own six-foot spaces for work, and chairs at the bar are spaced out. Plexiglass dividers stand on either side of booths. At Petrossian Bar in the lobby of the resort, the piano returns with entertainment while customers sit six feet apart. Baccarat Bar at the resort will even have special plexiglass dividers for larger groups of four who want to sit together at the bar.
Throughout the resort, visitors can find hand-washing stations right on the casino floor, hand sanitizer, and kiosks with masks and gloves for anyone to take.