Nevada Increases Allowed Group Sizes; Shows Path to Lifting Limits

Editors note: This story was updated from its original Feb. 12 publish date to include updated information on guidance for meetings and conventions. 

Nevada is slowly turning on the open sign for groups after a decrease in cases and positivity rates. On Friday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that venues will be able to host groups at 50 percent capacity starting Monday, March 15, a marked shift from the limit of 20 percent capacity for venues with more than 2,500 seats with conventions and trade shows capped at 1,000 people. While plans for groups larger than 250 people will still have to be submitted for approval, that process will be streamlined.

Large Gathering Covid-19 Preparedness & Safety Plan Certification Forms will have to certify through the state’s Department of Business and Industry that they will follow the state’s health and safety requirements and protocols and adhere to the prevention principles. Mitigation management could shift to local government control by May 1.

The move is part of what Sisolak called a gradual ending of a months-long “pause” put in place before the holidays. “Las Vegas has been the top convention and meetings destination for many years. We pride ourselves on providing the best facilities, the best service and now, the safest,” said Governor Sisolak. “We’ve been cautious, but very focused on reopening Las Vegas in the safest way possible for you, our treasured customers, our valued employees and our entire community. With great confidence in the efforts made by our resorts, convention centers and meeting hosts, I say… Welcome Back! The greatest place to do business in the world is even better.”

Safety Measures in Place

Protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing requirements will remain. The governor also announced that vaccine eligibility will be expanded to hospitality and food service workers. Vegas Smart outlines health and wellbeing measures taking place in the destination with links to each resort’s plan and how they will implement social distancing and cleaning practices.

“We know there’s pent up demand for the return of in-person meetings and conventions and for the Las Vegas experience,” said Steve Hill, LVCVA president and CEO. The first citywide convention scheduled in Las Vegas is expected to be World of Concrete, June 8–10, inside the expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.

The announcement came the same week that Cirque du Soleil announced it was preparing to reopen the shows “O” and “Mystere” in July and Society for Human Resource Management announced it was moving its annual conference and expo to Las Vegas Sept. 9-12 (with an online component) from a planned event in Chicago in June. The same week, Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, re-confirmed that IMEX America will go on as planned Nov. 9-11 at its new home in Mandalay Bay Las Vegas.

Read why MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle is optimistic about the prospects for Las Vegas.

“After making it through the very difficult winter surges and the pause, Nevadans want and deserve predictability about what our path forward will look like,” said Gov Sisolak during a February press conference. “This is what was front of mind as we developed this Roadmap to Recovery Safe Reopening Plan. As we continue navigating this pandemic and ramping up our vaccination efforts, this plan will focus on how we can continue mitigating the spread while getting Nevadans back to work, protecting and recovering our economy, and getting our students back to in-person learning.”

Industry Reaction 

 

Michael Massari, chief sales officer of Caesars Entertainment, said in February that he was encouraged the occupancy limits will be lifted as time progresses. “We think we have the protocols in place and can do even more, but we are ready when the governor says it is OK,” he said. 

Maureen “Mo” Robinson, director of sales with South Point Hotel Casino & Spa Las Vegas, said, “it will let us hang on to groups in Q3 & Q4…..so we are excited!” She explained that the property handles mostly associations and smaller groups so it not as affected as the large space hotels. “Our 200 to 400-room groups will fit nicely even with just the 50 percent.”

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