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Stoyan Todorov October 27, 2020 4 min read
Gov. Sisolak Plans to Scale up Convention Capacity in Nevada
Nevada governor Steve Sisolak has vowed to boost conferences and conventions, increasing capacity to 50% on January 1, 2021
Nevada’s Road to Recovery Involves Expos & Conventions
A man who used to be one of the biggest opponents of lifting covid-19 restrictions prematurely, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is now looking to allow bigger conventions to boost Nevada’s ailing economy.
Affected disproportionately from the lack of tourists and shutdown of hotels and casinos, the Silver State’s road to recovery will be a slow one, an opinion shared by most executives in the gaming and tourism industries.
Gov. Sisolak did exceptionally well at the height of the pandemic, skillfully negotiating a relief package with Washington and keeping businesses closed to stave off a much bigger calamity.
Now, the governor wants to see conventions capacity increased to 50% as of January 1, 2021. And, if the governor is feeling confident in boosting capacity, Nevada businesses can finally feel a bit of relief.
Speaking on Monday, October 26, Gov. Sisolak said that his priority was to get Nevadans back to work. “Right now, I am working on a plan to increase capacity to 50 percent for conventions […], to get business back to the state and get people back to work,” Sisolak added.
While casinos managed to return in July, conventions, which are an important strut in the state’s economy, have been discontinued since mid-March amid declining tourist numbers. As per the current government orders, gatherings exceeding 250 people at a time are forbidden regardless of whether they concern indoor or outdoor events.
Yet, the governor’s office has come together with health experts to enable a 10% venue capacity for conventions, concerts, and sporting events, something that will be raised to 50% of capacity at the turn of the year.
Thanks to the order passed earlier this October, some Las Vegas Strip giants have announced the return of entertainment programs.
Pressured by Events
While Sisolak’s intransigence in the face of covid-19 proved a bit hard-nosed, his ability to lead has translated into good crisis management.
Yet, the governor had to act quickly after planners of events, conventions and conferences threatened to pack up and leave, looking for their luck in other states. Sisolak said that he would find a way to restart their operations and he has made good on his promise.
In fact, he assured flighty businesses that Nevada was the best and safest place to host their events.
“A lot of these conventions plan months in advanced, and I don’t want to lose the whole first quarter and second quarter of next year,” Sisolak said, indicating he had given the issue some thought.
Once again, the governor reassured that he was working with health experts and education leaders to make sure that everyone can return to some form of normality. Despite his buoyancy, Sisolak warned that he didn’t have a set-in-stone prediction and that convention capacity and limits would be subject to discussions as the epidemiological situation develops.
Guarded Optimism about the Future
Yet, he expressed optimism that resorts would be able to transport guests and attendees safely and use the information picked over the last months in the fight against covid-19. He was naturally confronted if he would drop his plans to pursue a conventions boost should cases start climbing all throughout December, to which the governor simply responded that he didn’t want to guess.
In fact, he was sure that the state would be “on a downward trend.” To get to where every wants to be, though, Sisolak said that the entire state would need to put in the hard work in and see conventions upped to 50 percent capacity.
Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing are just two basic prerequisites for that to happen, the governor concluded.