Thousands of revelers are already trying their luck against social distancing by filling the Las Vegas Strip as capacity constraints ease – with photos showing crowds standing shoulder to shoulder in the gambling hotspot.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a “Roadmap to Recovery” on Friday that will allow casinos to increase capacity from 35 percent to 50 percent starting Monday.
But the news seemed to spark a stream of visitors over the weekend, even before the ruling went into effect, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal – that said only masks and socially distant signs made it clear it wasn’t like any other year.
“I took some pictures to send to my son in Chicago and I said, ‘I can’t believe so many people are out,'” Laura Amendala, 55, of Las Vegas, told the newspaper.
“I couldn’t even drive into the Bellagio’s parking lot to see the Botanical Gardens. It was filled to the last place. “
Photos on social media also show crowds standing shoulder to shoulder in the streets.
The majority appeared to be wearing face-covering, and casino staff were seen approaching people without one to make sure they were covered up, according to the review journal.
“It’s scary just because mask compliance is an issue,” Amendala told the point of sale.
It came when Nevada health officials reported 222 additional COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 299,287. There was also another fatality with a total of 5,118 known fatalities.
Of the new cases, 161 were in Clark County, which includes Vegas. The state has also discovered some cases of the highly contagious UK mutation.