Good News….Bad News
By Lani Gering
Good News….Bad News
I have had a plethora of people ask me what the status is of both the MGM Grand and the Gaylord National since the restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 hullabaloo are being relaxed. I had great expectations that included both resorts being up and running in some sense and was anxiously waiting to hear from my PR contacts. I was hit with both “good” news and “bad” news.
The Good News
By the time this issue hits the streets on the 30th, the MGM Grand will have been open two whole days. Opening the doors at 6:00 AM – kind of an odd hour in my opinion but they didn’t consult me so…- on the morning of June 29th, they are anxiously waiting to welcome guests back to the site. Per the Governor’s guidelines, the property will adhere to a 50% capacity limit. They have gone to great lengths to adhere to all of the mandates that are required to operate during the ongoing pandemic. Key initiatives from the MGM Resorts plan as well as specific to MGM National Harbor include:
Health & Safety
· Employee screening, temperature checks and COVID-19 specific training
· Employees and guests will be required to wear masks in public areas. Masks will be provided free of charge
· Guest temperature checks at casino floor entrances and hotel front desk
· A physical distancing policy will be implemented, with floor guides serving as reminders
· For areas where physical distancing presents challenges, plexiglass barriers will be installed, or other measures will be used to reduce risks
· Standalone handwashing stations designed by MGM Resorts conveniently located on the casino floor
· Contactless Check-In through the MGM Resorts App will allow hotel guests to go through the check-in process on their personal devices, minimizing interactions
· Guestroom Attendants will wear masks and gloves while cleaning each room and will change gloves between guestrooms
· In addition to increased and enhanced routine cleaning of guestrooms and public spaces based on CDC guidance, electrostatic sprayers will be utilized in many large public spaces so that disinfectant is applied efficiently
· Digital menus will be available to view on personal mobile devices via QR codes in the resort’s food and beverage outlets
· To minimize groups congregating while they wait, restaurant guests will receive text message notification when their tables are ready
· MGM has compiled its own internal team and processes to respond if a guest or employee tests positive for COVID-19. We ask that if a guest tests positive after visiting one of our properties, they alert us through a special email address (email@example.com). We will immediately report any positive test results to the local health department and assist with contact tracing to support the health department investigators.
A glimpse at what guests can expect:
· ROOMS & SUITES – Relax in one of MGM National Harbor’s rooms and suites, featuring panoramic views of the Potomac River and the Capital Region. Digital innovations will allow guests to utilize contactless check-in and digital key features. Guests will have their temperature checked at the hotel front desk.
· CONSERVATORY & POTOMAC PLAZA – Conservatory will present “Blossoms and Butterflies,” paying homage to the world-famous cherry blossom trees. Potomac Plaza, offering those fantastic panoramic views of the DMV, will also be accessible. For guest safety, new traffic patterns and physical distancing protocols will be in place.
· GAMING – To promote physical distancing, every other slot machine will be disabled, and plexiglass barriers have been installed at many of the table games. At security checkpoints to enter the casino floor, guests will have their temperature checked via thermal scanner. Poker will not be available in this first phase of reopening.
· DINING – A selection of the dining venues, including Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, Ginger, the food hall at National Market, and Bellagio Patisserie will be open for business. Guests will utilize digital innovations such as QR codes for menus and text messaging for reservations.
· BEVERAGES – A number of the resort’s lounges will be available, including Blossom, Felt Bar & Lounge and the Lobby Bar.
· ART – The Heritage Art Collection, including stunning pieces by more than 70 local and national artists, will be accessible to all guests.
· RETAIL – Sundries, snacks and souvenirs will be available at MGM & Co.
The status of the Theater and the live concerts remains in flux at the time of this writing. Days and hours of operation at all venues will vary. Complimentary self-parking will be available for guests; valet parking will not be operational at this time. For updates as the days go on and a full list of offerings, and to make reservations, please visit mgmnationalharbor.com.
The Bad News
Gaylord National will not be opening any time soon unless things drastically change. Since the bulk of their business relies on meetings and conventions followed by tourism, until people can travel and gather together they will remain closed. The employee furlough has been extended through October 2nd.
In the meantime, I am going to concentrate on the positive and make sure that I have a seat at Bond 45 when they open later this week.
July 4th Virtual Concert
4 p.m. EDT
National Harbor, Washington Performing Arts, and The U.S. Air Force Band are partnering for a special online live streaming concert on July 4th. World-renowned guest artists include violinist Joshua Bell, soprano Larisa Martinez, and basso Soloman Howard. The event will be hosted by Washington, D.C.’s own Aaron Gilchrist, morning anchor on NBC4. The live stream can be accessed nationalharbor.com/july4 on July 4.