With experience reopening its casino resort in Macau already under its belt, MGM Resorts International has released its plan for new health and safety protocols for its U.S. properties and resorts. The “Seven-Point Safety Plan” is a multilayered set of procedures designed in conjunction with medical and scientific experts.
Its aim is to deter the spread of the coronavirus to MGM customers and employees and rapidly respond to potential new cases.
“Our properties will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only okay, it’s critically important,” said MGM Resorts Acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle in announcing the program. “We will continue working with experts and following guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and government officials and regulators as we evolve these protocols based on the latest information.”
Other major hospitality companies, such as Marriott and Hilton, announced their own plans last month. Asked why MGM waited until now, Stephanie Glanzer, chief sales officer and senior vice president at MGM, replied, “We wanted to make sure we are doing it the right way. And I think as you compare us with some of the others, ours is a little more robust in detail.”
MGM’s seven-part plan encompasses the following.
Screening, temperature checks and employee training: Employee screening will assess signs of infection and whether the employee resides with or cares for someone who has recently been diagnosed with the virus. Employees are currently having their temperatures checked before entering properties. Guests will be asked to abide by a self-screening protocol before and during their stay.
Mandatory masks and personal protective equipment: All MGM Resorts employees will be required to wear an approved mask at work. Gloves will continue to be worn by employees such as food handlers and those who clean public areas. MGM will also “strongly encourage” guests to wear masks in public areas and will offer masks free. Guests will be asked not to eat on the casino floor and to minimize the time masks are removed when drinking.
Physical distancing: Six-foot physical distancing will be done, with floor guides as reminders. Where distancing is difficult, plexiglass barriers or eye protection will be provided to employees.
Handwashing and enhanced sanitization: Prior to property closures in March, MGM Resorts enhanced routine cleaning, based on CDC guidelines, especially on high-touch surfaces in common areas. It will continue to follow EPA guidelines for cleaning products to combat coronaviruses, bacteria and other infectious pathogens. Electrostatic sprayers will be used in large areas.
In addition, custom-built handwashing stations and hand-sanitizing stations will be placed in high-traffic areas. Signage will guide and remind employees and guests of their importance.
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) controls and air quality: MGM says it has reviewed resort HVAC systems to identify opportunities to enhance their effectiveness and has taken “rigorous measures in accordance with established guidelines to help mitigate the risk of virus transmission…fully recognizing the important role they have in keeping employees and guests healthy and safe.”
Incident response protocols: If a guest or employee tests positive for the virus, MGM “will activate incident-response protocols to ensure the infected individual has access to medical treatment, exposed areas are thoroughly sanitized and, when possible, notify those who may have come in close, prolonged contact with the infected individual.”
Digital innovations: To eliminate or reduce waiting in line, contactless check-in can be done on the MGM Resort mobile app, which then becomes a digital room key. Digital menus can be viewed on personal mobile devices via QR codes. Virtual queues will be used when immediate seating for dining guests is unavailable. Text messages will notify diners when table are ready.
Glanzer says the company’s experience in Macau was casino-specific. “Macau is not really a meeting destination,” she says. “There was an auto show in China that happened two weeks ago, the first mass trade-show event. We’re looking closely at that to see what they learned… We’re still looking at what the standards are. Will there be plexiglass between attendees and exhibits, and so forth. There is still a lot of confirmation to be done.”
She said her team is preparing for the return to meetings in other ways. “We have all the maximum capacities worked out, whether you’re talking an eight top, a four top or a crescent round, we already that those plans in place. We want to be very transparent.”
Glanzer also said she expects that MGM’s Stay Well guest rooms at its properties and Stay Well Meetings program at MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino could be enhanced and become part of the company’s marketing as a safe, healthy choice for planners and meetings.
“We want to make sure we have the tools in place for what I call the ‘new temporary normal,’” she says.