Gov. Steve Sisolak is preparing to raise casino occupancy to 35% starting on Monday with the rate going up to 50% on March 15.
Nevada Is Upping Occupancy for Casinos
Nevada is preparing to lift restrictions on casino floor occupancy, bumping it to 35% and then to 50% a month from Monday, February 15. Gov. Steve Sisolak, a long-time hardliner on premature lifting of restrictions, is finally in a position to allow capacity to be increased. However, Nevada’s authorities will still monitor for sudden spikes in infections.
Nevada has had one of its worst years following the pandemic. Casino shutdowns, a drop in tourist numbers and a deadly virus all put strain on the state’s economy and healthcare system. However, casinos and various other businesses will now be able to drastically increase their capacity.
The governor has cautioned that the Gaming Control Board will be in control if decision-making. “The Board and the Gaming Commission ultimately have authority over any licensed properties,” said Gov. Sisolak. He expects to collaborate with the gaming watchdog to ensure that all safety precautions are taken.
One of these precautions is to have hospitality workers vaccinated first. With over 307,000 doses administered to Nevada residents, the state is hoping to resuscitate its ailing economy and see tourists start coming back.
Restarting Nevada to Take a While
A more likely timeline for going back to normal remains 2022. The vaccination of casino workers has not gone smoothly. Some have refused. Others have not yet received their shot. Only 82,000 second doses have been made as well. That means the state’s 3.08 million people still have some catching up to do.
Hopes are that allowing businesses such as casinos, restaurants and bars to push capacity would lead to stronger recovery. In the case of casinos, though, lack of capacity has not been too bad. Las Vegas’ medium casino occupancy is usually high, but with not too many tourists visiting, the 25% is hardly an issue.
On the other hand, bars and restaurants can truly benefit from having the ability to host more people at the same time. Public gatherings will also enjoy somewhat laxer regulation. In fact, the number of people allowed to gather will be bumped up to 100 individuals from 50 individuals previously. This will come into effect on Monday.
Tourists to Return Sooner or Later
A month after on March 15 public gatherings will go up to 250 individuals with the hopes being that inoculations will have caught up by then. The state hopes to see cases of COVID-19 continue to decline.
Revenue in 2020 fell by 34.6% to $7.87 billion. Not too bad considering how difficult the year was, with major events canceled and conventions shutting down completely. With the flow to the Silver State stemmed, casinos had few people to cater to, driving revenue down.
This is now bound to change with Nevada hoping to see more tourists and business travelers arrive at the McLaren International Airport. Recovery is most likely to have reached a peak point by early 2022.
Because of the lack of customers, some properties have reopened their doors as vaccination centers to expedite the overall inoculation process. Nevada continues to tackle the pandemic as it knows best.