June 30, 2020 AccessVegas.com Insider Vibe

Newkirk’s Notes

Access Vegas Founder Ted NewkirkHello From Las Vegas! – Wow, wow, wow. If you are thinking you have not heard from me in longer-than-usual, you are correct! It seems like every time we were ready to publish, more dust would get kicked up in the ever-changing details of Las Vegas opening.

This will essentially be a double-issue. No, I don’t mean twice as much of every feature. You’ll notice it is simply MUCH longer than normal. Most of you are just now thinking about when to make travel plans, looking many weeks or months out, trying to make heads or tails of the situation. Which is why we’re here to help!

And, for our Members who wanted to come much sooner than later, you have been able to reach out to us through our “Your Guy In Vegas” form (where we guarantee to do our best to answer specific member questions), or ask something in our Insider Vibe Members Facebook Group.

For those wanting a great, in-depth and photo-filled account of what it was like to be here the first couple of weeks things were open, we highly suggest clicking over to read Vegas is open again, but is it worth the visit? by our friends at TravelZork. Head Zork Michael Trager pulls no punches!

Let me note that he’s not very kind on Caesars Entertainment’s evidence of using the health restrictions to cost-cut on services. Let’s keep in mind that the Caesars/Eldorado merger has been approved. Very soon, Eldorado Gaming will be taking over Caesars (taking on the Caesars name) and current actions are no reflection on the way new ownership and management may run the resorts. I have a pretty good feeling about Eldorado, which is fodder for a future issue.

Note On Politics: I’ve been doing this newsletter since 1999 and been putting Las Vegas related information on the internet since 1995. I’m also no stranger to having an educated opinion. I’ve been outspoken in the media about parking and resort fees, nickel-and-diming, and why the need to charge $21 for a cocktail in Las Vegas. (Unless you are paying for the ambiance of a club. Or a view. Or, both).

In fact, that is why we’ve had a move to being member-supported. By buying myself and my team a “cup of coffee” each month, you help us move positive change forward without worrying that I upset this or that casino company.

Even though I’ve never missed a presidential election since I started voting 36 years ago, and only missed 5 total in all of that time, I’m not here to tell you why to think my way. I’m here to tell you what is happening, and what you need to know, when it comes to Las Vegas.

I realize that wearing (or not wearing) masks in incredibly political for some. If you don’t like what is going on, write the governor. If you like what is going on, write the governor. The bottom line is that for everyone who stays away due to mask rules, another person who was staying away will visit because of them. So, for me, it is a wash. For you? It is my job to give you all the knowledge, rules, and details to allow you to make an informed decision.

So, let’s get on to…

Masks And Rules – Masks are now mandatory in public, in the state of Nevada. Public transit, airports, more or less anywhere outside your house or car or hotel room. They can be just about anything that is cloth and covers your mouth and nose. A bandana, something you make at home, the traditional medical or store bought masks, you name it. You are not required to go out and buy some kind of certified or special type of mask.

Yes, you CAN remove the mask eating, drinking, and smoking. People remove it when their food arrives, and put it on when finished. You pull it down or aside or similar while you drink your drink in the casinos, or take a drag of your smoke. Many/most casinos will currently ask you to step away from the table to take your smoke drag. (Just back away, not halfway across the hall!)

Enforcement –  The Gaming Control Board has said that if casinos do not enforce the “masks in public” rules, they may be subject to certain forms of punishment. Enough said. Rest assured that no gaming company will dare risk anything of that nature.

Outside the casino? You’ll be arrested and sent to jail. I’m KIDDING!!! Local law enforcement has noted they will simply approach you and educate you on what the rules are. Granted, local and regional governments in our part of the state have followed state directives when necessary, but… let’s just say that there has not been amazing amounts of enthusiasm or effort put into intensive enforcement about everything the governor dictates from Carson City.

Pragmatically, despite the fact that we appear to be in no danger of having hospital capacity or similar issues, national media was slamming Las Vegas for the lack of visitors masking up. And, we’ve seen casinos that were otherwise slated to open in the two big groups, possibly be looking to delay now. (Don’t worry: If you have a reservation and that hotel may not be opening yet, they will have already notified you that your reservation was moved to a sister property).

It was mask up and shut them up for now, or have headline-hungry national media not shut up until they have destroyed us. Rest assured, the powers that be know this mandate is not popular in many circles, and the edict won’t be kept alive any longer than it needs to.

However, also keep in mind that once sports and live performances are allowed again (with spectators… they are currently allowed with no spectators), masking up could very well last a number of months as a compromise to allow crowds to gather and enjoy.

Death Rate vs Infection Rate – The key number I’m keeping my eye on (and I feel that not all will agree) are the Covid death numbers here in Southern Nevada. Why not the infection numbers? Many casino companies have been fairly aggressive in testing employees. And, there is pressure to ramp up that testing even more. Which will likely result in a much higher level of testing than in other states. Which will turn up more positives.

Don’t get me wrong: Let’s find those people, get them quarantined if they are positive, and get the people not feeling well proper medical help.

However, death rates have hovered at 1-2 per day here in Nevada. While any loss of life is sad, people die in hospitals all day, every day. Of all kinds of causes. I don’t want to count the alerts for medical personnel being called to someone who was dying during my 12 days in University Medical Center during my traction, surgery, and recovery from my broken hip.

The next 2-3 weeks of looking at that number will be quite telling.

Elevators Away! – An extreme downside of social distancing was the prescribed (and not always enforced) limit of four people per elevator. Which caused lines in properties enforcing it. Now that masks are mandated, we’re understanding that those limits are not needed.

Lines For Pools – A downside of social distancing mandates at the pools is that they continue to be limited to 50% capacity. Right here in our glorious middle-of-summer “but, it’s a dry heat” season. When the most people want to enjoy the pool! (Plus, with not everything yet open, that is one activity you can do).

Once that limit is reached, a line forms. One in, one out. Which brings me to…

Don’t Pay That Resort Fee! – While no hard and fast rule, we’re hearing fairly significant success for people willing to strongly but politely ask for their resort fees to be removed. Remind them that you came to visit, you are inconvenienced by wearing a mask, quite a few things are not open, and you really did not have a true “resort” experience.

ALSO, if your hotel has a decent pool area, and you noticed lines for it throughout the day, you REALLY have an ace-in-the-hole on this one. Toss in the fact that it is pool weather, one of the key enjoyments of a resort is the pool area (they don’t know you didn’t even bring your swimsuit), and they are asking you to pay a fee for benefits you simply aren’t getting. That standing in a long line to even attempt to get into the pool is NOT the experience you are paying for.

It can’t hurt to try. You are talking about getting $100 or more removed from your bill upon check-out depending on where you stay and length of stay. And yes, do this upon check-out. When there is nothing else they can do to try to keep you paying the fee, but perhaps toss you a little something to try to ease the sting.

Rollers, Not Stollers – Circa Las Vegas (site of the old Las Vegas Club), is opening early! On Oct. 28, 2020 they will open the casino, five hotel floors, and all but one restaurant. Reservations are now being accepted here: bit.ly/3fSIyc3. The hotel will open in its entirety in late December, just in time for New Year’s Eve.

Of very interesting note: This property will be 21 and over. Period. No guests of any kind under 21. No families. No rooms booked to anyone whose party contains people under 21.

Owner Derek Stevens joked that he ran out of money before they were able to build an arcade. The bottom line is that he wants gamblers. Period. A casino focused on gambling. What a novel concept when MGM Resorts has spent the past few years often putting out advertising that had little (and often no) depiction of gambling in it!

Resorts World Won’t Be Far Behind – Sitting on the former Stardust site, this massive project is topped out, landscaping is going in, and the lettering on the building has commenced. (I walked out of my local CVS a few days ago, looked over, and went “Wow”).

Of interesting note, they won’t need to put on building wraps to advertise whatever they want to feature: Nearly the entire west tower facing down The Strip is a video wall. No, we’re not kidding. It is HUGE and it is impressive. As we expect the resort to be.

If you want a sneak peak a the rooms, check this out: Resorts World Las Vegas unveils guestroom designs

Thanks For Asking – Thanks to everyone who has asked about my health! I was pronounced healed (the x-ray showed the bone was all back together) in six weeks and one day. This is a 6-8 week recovery for bone healing normally. I lobbied the medical team hard to let me rehab at home, which allowed me to get plenty of healthy food, fruits and calcium-rich veggies in a daily big Nutribullet drink (love mine), and take calcium and other supplements that helped with healing.

I was also fortunate enough to get the same rehab guy who helped get my right shoulder replacement to its maximum recovery.

I’m still using a walker as I rebuild strength, but for short putters in the house, it stays put.

Getting Back To Normal?!? – Will we get back to simply talking Vegas next issue? I sure hope so! But as always, since uncertainty may be in the cards for a while, you can depend on us here for the best, most accurate, no-agenda (except to serve you, our supporting members) info without trying to wade through internet rumors, incorrect news, and all the political wars over all of this on the groups and boards.

Hope You Are Enjoying This Issue!

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor

Las Vegas Shows

Celebrating a new season and a milestone moment for Las Vegas, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens made its dazzling debut on June 4 as the resort opened its doors to guests for the first time in more than two months.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Dining

Wondering where to find the best steakhouses near you? Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the best high-end steakhouses in Las Vegas, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to meet your needs.

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Las Vegas Hotels

Could a Hard Rock Hotel and the iconic neon guitar be ready for a resurrection in Las Vegas? Hard Rock International announced Wednesday that the world-renowned entertainment and hospitality brand has purchased all rights to the Hard Rock® brand and related trademarks in Las Vegas from Houston-based private equity firm, Juniper Capital, which purchased the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino® Las Vegas in 2018 from Brookfield Asset Management.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Tours And Attractions

With the Grand Canyon National Park testing the first phases of reopening, access to the vast network of canyon trails and park amenities remain mostly off-limits. But behind the scenes, the folks at the Grand Canyon Conservancy (the official nonprofit partner of the Grand Canyon National Park) have been hard at work thinking up ways to keep the public connected to our state’s most prized natural treasure.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Nightlife

Members Mania

June 16 at 2:56 PM Hi Ted. Could give us some reviews of how people are feeling about the new restrictions on table games, most importantly for me is blackjack and how the new “experience” working. Hope you’re healing up.

Kip Petersen


Ted Responds:

People are playing. It all really depends. Bad answer, I understand.

You can take down your mask to drink or smoke (although, you may be asked to step away from the table to take the drag of smoke).

Because so many people are SO divided on masks, the answer lies along your preferences. If you are among the “no mask ever” crowd, or someone who feels it will infringe on your fun, then don’t visit yet.

If you are someone who is “we must wear masks” or “I’m fine wearing them, that’s what is happening this moment”, then those people are having a fun time.

We are featuring Member Michael Trager’s excellent blog post on visiting in the current Las Vegas, and it is worth a read for someone with your concerns.

Hope this helps as much as possible! In a time when so many people have so many different views on everything regarding this kind of topic, there is no “hard and fast” answer.

Michael Trager of TravelZork also chimed in on this one on Facebook: I played close to 14 hours of dice opening weekend. Thursday, Friday, Saturday. At Caesars. I wanted the mask experience. Things are in constant flux, but I did step away and pull down my mask to drink and smoke. I finished my trip with four hours of dice at Wynn. No mask.You get used to the mask. Biggest issue at dice is you need to speak louder with a mask.


Hi Ted

I thought you’d like to hear how our recent vacation went, given that I asked for your advice on a Grand Canyon trip for my sons. They had a wonderful time with Vegas Daze – pick up was waiting for them even though we were early. Everything went well and the photos were amazing. A great experience.

As very regular visitors to Vegas. It might be useful to you and perhaps some of your readers, particularly from the UK, to feedback on elements of our trip. We stayed at Caesars, primarily for the pools which we think are the best on the strip. The line for check in was so long that I estimated, based on previous experiences, that it might well take 2-3 hours.

After a 24 hour travel time, I wasn’t impressed and I complained at the VIP check in. A very courteous member of the team checked us all in and upgraded us at the same time. Brits don’t often complain but I am learning the ropes and yes, a tip does help. We have stayed at Caesars a couple of times before but probably won’t go back. We’re staying at The D in March for a different vibe. We’d booked Rao’s in Caesars for my husband’s birthday dinner but were really disappointed with the service and the fixed price menu in Mr Chow only works if you are a group of four and you like everything offered, as the menu is equally fixed with no individual choices of dish.

We always go back to Charlie Palmer’s in Four Seasons – we love their menu and the staff remember us each time we visit. We are also fans of Sinatra’s in Encore – it’s a beautiful restaurant and although we’ve not always had the best food, this time everything was perfect and the staff are attentive and helpful without being invasive.

Having the boys with us this time we ventured to go axe throwing – we had a brilliant time. Although we arrived late due to a mix up on our booking with Expedia, the team accommodated us without question and allowed us extra time at the end – an hour goes really quickly and we all wanted to get that final bullseye before we left. Well worth the $20.

Thank you to all those who were driving past the Little Church of the West, when my husband and I were having our photo taken after renewing our vows and sounded their horns in celebration with us. It made our day.

Finally, and I know this is always on your radar too, the resort fees are ridiculous. On checkout we had additional visits to the gym charged to our account – although we managed to get these removed the thought that perhaps only one visit to the gym each day is covered by the resort fee is crazy. Our two rooms for 12 nights racked up a resort fee bill alone of some $1000. The standard wi-fi was wholly inadequate and dropped out all the time but to upgrade was an eye-watering $14.99 per day!

We will keep coming back, as long as health prevails, and next time we will venture off the Strip even more to some of the restaurants the locals go to – I’ve made a note of your recommendations. Thank you and the team for your advice and news stories.

Best wishes. Pauline


Ted Responds:

This is a pre-shutdown trip report that we’re repeating because it may have gotten lost in the shuffle (or, you weren’t checking for a while between trips and are getting caught up)!


Can I get an honest opinion on downtown Vegas? I’m torn between strip or downtown I’m really considering the plaza and the awesome deal there offering I’ve never been downtown just the strip. I just need the extra boost I guess from you guys on what I should do.

Brock Daniel Lambertson


Ted Responds:

You’ve come to the right place! Our Supporting (Paid) Members can use the “Your Guy In Vegas” form feature to access the knowledge of our staff, guides, and partners who have upwards of 100 years of Las Vegas tourism experience, much of it “boots on the ground”.

Do NOT stay downtown if you have not yet visited downtown! I don’t care how good the deal is. Should everyone do downtown one evening? Or afternoon into evening so you can take in Fremont East, enjoy dinner at one of the many places in Container Park or Le Thai or the hidden gems on the handful of blocks surrounding that area. Which will be a coming feature in a Member’s Edition.

However, downtown is its own thing. If you want to really drink and gamble and do so in a way that won’t break your wallet, and that is pretty much the goal of your trip (plus a side visit to Mob Museum, Neon Museum, and the Art’s District — another still “best kept downtown secret” we’ve been informing Members about), then staying downtown could very much be for you.

However, if you are going to spend much/most of your time on The Strip, the time and cost of going back and forth will talke a toll, and you are better off spending a bit more for a Strip room.

Visit downtown first. For an afternoon and evening. THEN, you’ll have a far better idea.

Hope this helps!

We have answers to your Vegas questions!

But, you have to ask the questions.

Email us at [email protected], and let us know, what YOU want to know!

Las Vegas Gambling

As the casinos reopen their doors on the Las Vegas Strip, the reports of jackpots are also returning.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Sports


Other Las Vegas News

Spirit Airlines says it will slowly restore air service to Las Vegas as demand for travel begins to pick back up. The airline will restore six cities in June, with Atlanta, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Orlando coming back.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

What We’re Watching!
Vegas Videos You’ll Enjoy

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Exploring the Luxurious Caesars Palace Las Vegas

(Producers Notes) Walk with us and explore The Luxury Caesars Hotel and Casino located in Las Vegas.

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Places To Eat In Las Vegas On A Budget

(Producers Notes) Places To Eat In Las Vegas On A Budget. Las Vegas is super expensive these days, but you can still eat well on a budget if you know where to go. It also helps to keep an open mind. Some places you can even eat for free!

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Siegfried, of Siegfried & Roy, Speaks About His Connection with Roy Horn

Siegfried, of Siegfried & Roy, speaks about his connection with Roy Horn in an ABC exclusive interview.

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Bellagio Conservatory Reopens with “Japan Journey: Magic of Kansai”

(Producers Notes) The Bellagio Resort’s world-famous Conservatory & Botanical Gardens reopened this weekend with a new display originally dedicated o the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

This display is scheduled to run all summer and close in late September.

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free to the public.

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  • The True Inside ScoopAccessVegas.com CEO Ted Newkirk has been writing “Newkirk’s Notes” for upwards of two decades, giving members the true inside guide to everything that is going on in Las Vegas. Valuable information from someone in the know to save you time and money!  This will be right here in almost every issue.

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June 30, 2020 ISSN: 1529-2770 About Us   Privacy Policy
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