In last week’s expose’ of my “Economies of Travel- Traveling during the CoVid shutdowns”, I detailed my trip by airplane to Newport Beach and what it was like to travel during the pandemic. My next trip took us by car to a hotel casino resort in neighboring Reno.
We left the Thursday of the Fourth of July weekend, July 2nd.
Although I expected traffic, highway 80 was as busy as I have ever seen it for a getaway holiday.
The typical tailgating at 60 mph jammed both lanes all the way to Truckee.
Half expecting many to be heading to the gambling mecca of Reno like I was, I was pleasantly relieved to see most of the traffic exit highway 267 towards Lake Tahoe. An estimated 250,000 besieged the Tahoe area that week so I hear.
Although Reno streets looked like an average day of traffic, the hotel parking lots was packed. I had been told the hotel was at 80% occupancy during my reservation phone call. The 80% figure is a familiar one as most casinos will always say they are 80% full to appear they are in demand so the reservation phone call didn’t cause me undue panic. Arriving in the parking lot however the level of concern in the car definitely increased.
Entering the casino, a heat camera had been placed over the escalator with a sign said “body temperatures scanned”.
Ok then, but since the camera was on the ceiling and I saw no attendant anywhere, I wasn’t sure if an alarm would go off or what. Apparently our temperatures were ok but at that moment I realized if a high temperature was detected, and no attendant was present, I would be well into the casino before anyone could react.
The lines to check-in were long and those familiar social distancing dots were on the floor. The receptionist was masked and behind Plexiglas. Most patrons we saw wore masks.
Signs were up saying masks required and elevators were limited to 4 people with distances X’s on the elevator floors.
Once checked in, we strolled the casino. This casino had installed Plexiglas panels between each machine but another casino we visited did not.
Honestly I saw a lot less hand sanitizers than I expected and throughout the 3 day visit, I saw few if any employees wiping down the machines. I couldn’t help but think all the “we’re clean” hype was beginning to bring the word “malarkey” to mind. One bar did remind me when my mask ended up around my neck but the rest of the casino locations didn’t really say anything to those that had their masks pulled down.
The hotel had reduced patronage numbers in the pool so unless you got there at 10:00 am, you were wait listed. Both days I got my call three to four hours later. Obviously hanging out at the pool was going to be a nonevent for a family that has kids that sleep in until noon.
The restaurants had reduced seating so a reservation was impossible. We ended up going off site and eating early to get a seat.
The movie theaters only had one showing with familiar but old reruns. A common theme to those of us familiar with movie-going during CoVid.
The buffets were also gone but I’m not a buffet guy anyway so no harm no foul there, at least for me.
We were charged the typical “resort fee” (don’t get me started) but were informed there would be no maid service after the first day. We could order fresh towels and such but there would be no room attention. So much for the amenities paid by the “fee”.
All in all, the whole thing felt a little desperate. Desperate like those that were there were so determined to “get away”, they would settle for this type of “half access” to just about all the reasons for being there.
After two days we were ready to leave and determined not to come back. And like I said in the conclusion of last week’s article:
“…… despite great prices everywhere, the amenities and reasons for going are so hampered and dampened down it might be better to set up a tent somewhere and chill by a campfire or just stay home”.
Like I said last week, traveling right now is really not worth it.
This article expresses the opinions of Marc Cuniberti and should not be construed as individual investment advice. No one can predict market movements. Investing involves risk. You can lose money. Mr. Cuniberti is an investment advisor representative through Cambridge Investor Research Advisors Inc. a registered investment advisor. California insurance license 0L34249