The existing COVID-19 restrictions in Nevada will last until January 15, announced Governor Steve Sisolak. Although the pandemic is still ongoing, the Governor revealed that for the moment, the casino industry will remain operational, helping the state with vital gaming tax revenue.
Governor Sisolak Extends the COVID-19 Restrictions
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak revealed yesterday that despite the ongoing pandemic, the gaming industry in the state will not be closed again. Announced on Sunday, the Governor revealed that the mitigation efforts put in place a few weeks ago to reduce the spread of COVID-19 will be extended until January 15. Although some states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania have chosen to temporarily shut down casinos to reduce the spread, Nevada has taken a different approach.
During the online press conference from Carson City, the Governor acknowledged that the first shutdown which closed Nevada’s casinos for 78 days has resulted in significant losses for the state in gambling tax revenue. Some $52 million in gambling tax revenue were lost every month, which may prove to be vital for the state considering the impact of the pandemic. Furthermore, Governor Sisolak revealed that this is only the gaming tax revenue that was lost and it doesn’t include the “room tax, live entertainment tax, and more“.
Another point which the Governor raised was that he was not “worried about their stock prices or whether gaming executives are going to make it through the pandemic“. Instead, he was concerned the most about the Nevadans a part of the gaming industry who have been unemployed or furloughed since March. This includes card dealers, housekeepers, dancers, cooks, valets, and many more employees of the hotel and casino industry who were impacted by the pandemic. In fact, the Governor stressed that some 250,000 people have lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic which marks “the highest level ever reported by any state in modern history.”
Current Restrictions Limit Most Businesses to 25% Occupancy
The restrictions which were implemented in November and will now last through January include a limit on private gatherings to 10 people from no more than two households. Public gatherings were restricted to a maximum of 50 attendees or no more than of the 25% maximum capacity allowed in the building.
The capacity of restaurants and bars was capped to 25% with reservations required for all such venues which serve food for dine-in service. Furthermore, a maximum of 4 people are allowed to sit per table. The capacity was reduced to 25% for other businesses such as fitness venues, gyms, and dance venues. A similar capacity limit was introduced to museums, libraries, bowling alleys, racetracks, arcades, and more entertainment venues.
“The gaming industry is under the same restrictions as many of our small businesses, and in some cases, even tougher restrictions.”Governor Steve Sisolak
During the press conference on Sunday, Governor Sisolak stressed that the restaurants and bars in casinos are under the same capacity limits as the local venues. Furthermore, he revealed that the same 25% capacity restriction applies to the gaming industry. The restriction is in fact similar to many other businesses and according to the Governor, there are even tougher restrictions implemented by some operators.
Considering that the pandemic is still ongoing, the Governor did not rule out additional restrictions if the COVID-19-related numbers do not improve. He stressed that this is not a threat but rather urged everyone to “work together to bring these numbers under control over the next month”.