Statewide pause as situation escalates
Nevada casinos will operate at 25% capacity starting Tuesday, November 24, in the wake of record daily COVID-19 cases in the state. Governor Steve Sisolak said the number of virus infections is at “wildfire levels”, placing the region in a “red zone”.
The governor tweeted out a link to his Sunday press conference, where he talked through upcoming changes for the state:
Gov. Sisolak announced a “statewide pause” for three weeks. All residents and visitors must wear a face covering or mask at all times when in the presence of someone who is not a part of their household. Capacity levels at many businesses and gatherings will drop from 50% to 25%, while retail establishments will not have to further restrict occupancy.
Quelling the virus
While there is no shutdown order, the goal of the three-week pause is to “aggressively try to attack this spread” while also enabling the economy and daily life to continue somewhat. Bars and restaurants too will be subject to the 25% capacity rule. All restaurant-goers will need to have a reservation, with a maximum of four patrons allowed to sit at a single table.
chance of casinos returning to better gaming floor occupancies
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) will be in charge of enforcing the new capacity restrictions at casinos. NGCB chairman J. Brin Gibson has noted that the more Nevada mitigates the spread of the virus in the coming weeks, the greater the chance of casinos returning to better gaming floor occupancies.
A struggling sector
If the latest set of restrictions are not effective, the virus cases continue to rise, and the healthcare system is under strain, Gov. Sisolak will have to take stronger action.
On March 18, he issued a closure order for gaming operations in Nevada for 78 days. Casinos were able to reopen on June 4 while adhering to strict health and safety, capacity, and hygiene guidelines. The sector has been struggling somewhat to deal with the fallout of the pandemic. Gaming revenues were down 45% through September, as airline passenger volume at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport fell 56.5%.
As a result of lower demand from patrons, a number of casinos are no longer opening during the week. The latest to do so will be the hotel operations at The Mirage and Mandalay Bay. MGM Resorts International announced that these properties will be closed Mondays through Thursdays starting November 30.