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Wynn, Hilton CEOs talk deals, procedures for safe reopenings at White House

·4 min read

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During a Business Roundtable event held at the White House on Wednesday, leaders from the hospitality industry laid out how they plan to safely reopen their businesses as Americans go back to work and the economy prepares to gear up.

"What we're hearing from our customers is that they're desperate to get back out and move around and see their country again and see their friends again," Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta said. "They obviously want to do it in a safe and healthy way."

Nassetta said his hotel chain has launched a partnership with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic this week to create a consistent set of health and hygiene standards so the hospitality industry can provide a safe environment for customers and employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We stand ready as an industry to help get America open and moving again," Nassetta said. "We have developed and are working on the absolute best protocols so that when people come into our hotels, the rooms have been cleaned, they’ve been sealed" adding that customers should "feel safe and secure."

LUXURY HOTEL OWNER IS BIGGEST BENEFICIARY OF CORONAVIRUS SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAM WITH NEARLY $60M IN AID

Matt Maddox, the CEO of Nevada-based hotel chain Wynn Resorts, said his company is partnering with Las Vegas' University Medical Center to ramp up testing efforts. According to Maddox, the hospital has gone from conducting a couple hundred COVID-19 tests per day to 10,000 tests per day.

"They don’t have enough people to test," Maddox said. "So I’ve signed a deal with them to allow all Wynn employees to get tests, anytime for free, and they’re going to set up on-site testing.”

In addition, Maddox is keeping his 15,000 employees on the payroll in an effort to accelerate the economy and help the state of Nevada mitigate the spread of the coronavirus using contact tracing.

"We've had our call center team up with the health district to become contact tracers," Maddox said. "We tripled the amount of contact tracing ability, on us, for our state to get that moving."

CASINO GIANT REVEALS WHEN LAS VEGAS STRIP MAY LIGHT UP AFTER CORONAVIRUS

Maddox and his hotels are turning to state-of-the-art equipment to help re-open the resort hotels and casinos.

"We have thermal cameras at our entrances, we have a company supply PPE, we have just about every U.V. technology that you can think of for disinfectant," Maddox said. "So we're ready and I'm encouraging our state that we need to begin a phased approach and get back to business."

Maddox has also created a comprehensive plan laying out exactly how the entire Las Vegas Strip could reopen.

According to Maddox, the plan could begin this week with a phase one opening of smaller restaurants, retail businesses and recreational areas like golf courses and tennis courts with social distancing measures staying in place. The state's progress would then be measured by the growth in coronavirus cases, ICU capacity and the rate of positive tests.

"If we’re inside those benchmarks in three weeks, then on Memorial Day I would hope that we’re open," Maddox said.

Officials at The Wynn Las Vegas told Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this week it will start accepting reservations beginning Memorial Day weekend.

BUSINESS CLOSURES SURGE BY 200% AS COROANVIRUS HAMMERS US ECONOMY, STUDY FINDS

The comments from the hotel CEOs come as the coronavirus has ravaged the hospitality industry.

According to a new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association based on data from multiple analytics firms, the industry has lost $2.4 billion in weekly wages while roughly eight of 10 hotel rooms remain empty.

There are more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 60,000 deaths overall in the United States. In Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, there are 3,793 cases and 186 deaths, according to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University.

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Shares of Hilton and Wynn Resorts soared during Wednesday's trading session, both up more than 8 percent.

Hilton stock closed at $79.28 per share and rose more than 2 percent in after-hours trading while Wynn Resorts stock closed at $89.03 per share and rose 3 percent in after-hours trading.

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