It’s no secret that the fear, uncertainty and safeguards surrounding the Covid-19 crisis have had a significant and undeniable impact on the service and entertainment industry over the past year. Perhaps nowhere in the United States has been hit harder by forced closings, social distancing, and lack of tourism than Las Vegas, Nevada.
After more than a year of bans, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders, Las Vegas was more or less a ghost town. An empty strip, empty venues, and restaurants closing down have turned this once vibrant destination into a shadow of its former self. However, recent developments bring much-needed optimism to Sin City business owners.
Clark County’s easing of restrictions
May 1st brought some of the best news local Clark County restaurant owners could hope for. In preparation for holidays such as Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, state officials have turned control over to locations in Nevada to manage all aspects of health and safety measures related to combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now that Clark County’s commissioners, working with health and medical experts from the Southern Nevada Health District, are responsible for policies and procedures to help contain Covid-19, they have announced an increase in the county’s restaurant occupancy limits. This new game plan also includes other casual activities that will begin a return to normal for Las Vegas residents and business owners.
Restaurants are now 80% full
By raising the limit from 50% to 80% and reducing social distancing guidelines from two meters to one meter, Clark County officials believe they can help businesses while still safely controlling the spread of the deadly virus in their county.
These new guidelines also include increasing the maximum number of guests at a table from six to twelve and at the bar from two to four. Terrace seating has always been 100% full, but the new indoor rules are welcome news for restaurant owners who can now return to daily operations and prepare for the inevitable rush on the horizon.
Relaxation of restrictions across the board
Other good news has surfaced lately as well. In addition to the new 80 percent increase in restaurant capacity, it was announced that self-service buffets, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues may also reopen, albeit with reservations about social distancing. Although many nightclubs fall under the jurisdiction of the Nevada Gaming Board, adult entertainment venues must undergo rigorous health checks and weekly PCR tests to comply with local regulations.
Wearing masks is still mandatory, a 3-foot social distancing measure still applies, and hand sanitizer must be used in public places, especially buffets and all places where food and drink are served.
Grocery stores are now allowed to bring back salad bars, salsa bars, olive bars, seasoning stations, and food collection bins, and customers can even enjoy food samples in grocery stores as long as social distancing and face covers are always worn.
The state of Covid in Clark County
According to all reports, Clark County in Las Vegas has kept its Covid numbers low and increased vaccination numbers. By May 2021, more than 44% of eligible Clark County residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
More vaccines, fewer restrictions
More good news is also in sight, a recent announcement suggests. If at least 60% of Clark County’s 1.8 million eligible residents receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and case numbers remain low, officials plan to lift all restrictions entirely.
This depends on whether residents actually receive the vaccine, the average 14-day test positivity stays at 5% or less, and the weekly case numbers in the county stay below 1,150. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is hoping all counties in the state will be open at full capacity by June 1st
Tourists & locals, rejoice
With this news, Las Vegas restaurateurs can begin pulling tables and chairs from warehouse and removing the X’s marking tables as taboo – and are already seeing a significant surge in returns from local and overseas customers.
Business owners, locals, and tourists keen to visit Sin City have been incredibly vocal in favor of these new measures. By the time the announcement was passed, Vegas vacationers have already begun making plans for their next visit. Although we have access to popular casino games online, it is clear that the real thrill of the Las Vegas Strip is still in high demand.
After people locked up for months and unable to experience the sights, sounds, and excitement of Las Vegas, tourists can now return to the city more safely. Tourism in Vegas is starting to look up.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editors or management of EconoTimes.