Nevada is slowly turning on the open sign for groups after a decrease in cases and positivity rates. On Thursday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that he was gradually ending a months-long “pause” put in place before the holidays.
Starting Feb. 15, limits on public gatherings and events will go from 50 people to 100 people or 35 percent of fire code capacity, whichever is less. Plans for large gatherings after March 1 can be submitted for approval by local health authorities.
Starting March 15, groups of up to 250 people (or 50 percent of capacity whichever is less) will be allowed to meet.
And as of May 1, containment efforts could be managed regionally to react more appropriately with local conditions. Protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing requirements will remain in place.
Source: Nevada Health Response
“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. “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 Was Mixed
Many were hoping for a more robust opening, considering that many of the meeting spaces in Las Vegas can hold multiples of 250 people and still be at less than 50 percent capacity and states such as Florida and Texas are allowing much larger groups to assemble. But for those planning for later in the year it was heralded as a good first step.
“The Las Vegas destination took an important step forward with the Governor’s loosening of restrictions that will enable us to welcome back our valued and sorely missed business customers in the near future. It also provides our leisure visitors with the anticipation of knowing more amenities and offerings are on the horizon at all of our world-class resorts and venues,” said John S. Schreiber, CEM, vice president of business sales with Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “We appreciate the Governor’s remarks for the need to help relaunch our missed and needed convention business including the World of Concrete convention taking place in Las Vegas this June. With health and safety measures in place as top priority, the destination’s ongoing “Vegas Smart” efforts have become and will continue to be the gold standard, enabling visitors to enjoy all of the offerings that make Las Vegas the entertainment capital of the world.”
@GovSisolak provides an update on the #reopening timelines for #Nevada…(and the #TradeShow capital of the world)! This includes encouraging support for #BusinessEvents & genuine excitement to welcome @WorldofConcrete home in June. #goLIVEtogether https://t.co/klsOXGa4oj
— Go LIVE Together (@golivetogether) February 12, 2021
Michael Massari, chief sales officer of Caesars Entertainment, said 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, “That won’t help Q1 and Q2, but 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.”