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Nearly a year has passed since Las Vegas first shut down its hotel and casino operations due to COVID-19. Even after the tourism-fueled city reopened in a limited fashion, its non-essential establishments subject to new regulations and restrictions, business has merely been limping along.
With the tourism industry here kept afloat mostly by the drive-in market, visitation volumes have reached the lowest levels seen in almost 30 years, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. So, it's hardly surprising that Las Vegas' politicians, officials, casino-owners and other tourism stakeholders are eager to revive the town's usual activities as quickly as possible, even if the experience now looks a little different.
With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming increasingly available and infect rates currently falling, Nevada's Governor Steve Sisolak announced earlier this month that the state will roll back health and safety restrictions somewhat in March. On and outside of the Las Vegas Strip, casinos will begin to bring back smaller-scale shows, reopening offerings that had been suspended and coming up with new ways to attract visitors, Frommer's reported.
While capacities allowances on casino floors, and indoor bars and restaurants are currently restricted to 35 percent-a bump up from 25 percent back in November-on March 15, the cap will rise to 50 percent, according to Nevada's 'Roadmap to Recovery' plan, released this month.
Anticipating an increase in demand as attractions reopen and capacities increase, MGM Resorts announced last week that 24/7 hotel and casino operations will resume at three of its Strip properties-The Mirage, Mandalay Bay and Park MGM-starting March 3. Toward the end of 2020, each of those resorts had shut down midweek operations due to insufficient demand. But, soon, all of MGM's Las Vegas properties-including Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, MGM Grand, New York-New York-will once again be open around the clock.
How we do Wednesdays. ... And pretty much every day. @circalasvegas@stadiumswimhttps://t.co/vgIVPan6ez- Vegas (@Vegas) February 24, 2021
How we do Wednesdays. ... And pretty much every day. @circalasvegas@stadiumswimhttps://t.co/vgIVPan6ez
Vegas' entertainment options still won't compare to the pre-pandemic plethora of offerings, but magicians, stand-up comedians and athletes are coming back to perform in front of small audiences. Shows are currently restricted to 100 people or 35 percent of venue capacity (whichever is less), but limits are set to increase on March 15 to 250 or 50 percent of capacity.
Outdoor pools and open-air dayclubs-including MGM's Wet Republic, OMNIA at Caesars Palace and Liquid Pool Lounge at ARIA-are slated to reopen with the warmer weather in March. Capacity restrictions on outdoor dining will be lifted entirely, though social-distancing, and mask-wearing, whenever guests aren't eating or drinking, will still be enforced.
Heightened health and safety measures will continue in effect indefinitely, Forbes reported, including mask requirements, social distancing, touchless ordering and requiring reservations instead of allowing general admission.
Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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