Nevada Casino Capacity Cut for Three Weeks due to COVID-19 Case Count

When casinos reopened after a COVID-19 closure by in June, certain restrictions were in place. The venues were unable to operate unless they met certain requirements, including cleaning protocols, mask wearing and social distancing. On top of this, the casinos had to ensure that the capacity inside was at 50%. Now, as positive cases of the virus are on the rise, the capacity has cut from 50% to just 25%. Governor Steve Sisolak made the announcement on Sunday, with casinos scrambling on how to stay afloat due to the new restrictions.

Follow the New Restrictions

During the press conference to make the announcement, Sisolak said that operators in the state must abide by the new rules or they will face the consequences of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The new rules go into effect at 12:01 am on Tuesday. Occupancy will be cut in half, down to 25%.

Gathering sizes are also limited, so it could stop certain casino resorts from offering entertainment shows or hosting events. Operators have been asking to bring back conventions and with the group size previously set at 250, small events could take place. However, that number has now been cut to 50.

The convention industry has already been under great strain and plays a vital role in the amount of money earned by casino operators. When large conventions take place, the attendees pay for hotel stays, food, drinks, and gambling, among other items like entertainment.

Many shows on the Las Vegas Strip may be cancelled due to the new group gathering limit. Some casino operators just held big openings for popular shows and now they will have to cancel scheduled events yet again.

Restaurants and Bars

Not only are the casinos affected but also the industry’s restaurants and bars. The capacity of these venues must also be cut to 25%. Right now, they are operating at 50% as well. According to the governor, indoor dining is allowed but patrons must have a reservation. Tables will also be limited to four individuals per table.

Walk-in diners will not be allowed. It is unclear as to how some businesses will be able to deal with these changes. When asked about it, the governor suggested that restaurants offer carryout, curbside or delivery.

The governor pointed out that the majority of bars and restaurants have been doing their best to protect everyone, but the settings have been seen as high risk because people are indoors and removing face coverings. This is how the virus is spreading.

Retail businesses in the state can remain open at 50% capacity. Fitness centers must cut back to 25%. Anyone inside a fitness center must wear a mask at all times.

We shall see in the coming weeks if the changes help to cut down on the influx of positive COVID-19 cases in Nevada. If there is no change, the governor seems to be prepared to take more drastic measures. This could include shutting down dining and bar service entirely. Hopefully the changes work so the state can avoid a shutdown of any kind.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.