US

Covid US: Las Vegas Strip reopens as Nevada Governor rolls back restrictions

The huge crowds that swarmed the Las Vegas Strip on its first weekend after reopening had one message: Thanks Joe!

Thousands of people descended on Sin City over the weekend after Nevada governor Steve Sisolak relaxed his state’s stay at home order to allow casinos, bars and restaurants to reopen at 50 per cent capacity.

Many of the revelers told DailyMail.com they had taken the opportunity to blow their $1,400 stimulus checks on a weekend of partying – while hotels took advantage by hiking prices to pre-pandemic levels.

On Saturday night, The Strat was offering rooms for $179-a-night compared to $50 during the summer, while the Cosmopolitan had hiked prices to $610.

Paris Las Vegas – which offered rooms last July for a bargain $55 – was selling beds for $284. At neighboring Bally’s, stays shot up to $269 while drink prices were also hiked with domestic Dos Equis beers selling for $13 a bottle.

Restaurant worker Ashley Stafford, 37, from Las Vegas said: ‘People are totally out spending their stimulus checks – the crowds are huge and different than usual.

Sin City’s back! Thousands of people flocked to the Las Vegas Strip over the weekend amid Nevada’s reopening of bars, casinos, and restaurants at 50 per cent capacity 

Revelers Owen Bowden, 25, and Natalie Ganpar, 24, indulged in a supersized boozy drink as they walked around the crowded strip

Revelers Owen Bowden, 25, and Natalie Ganpar, 24, indulged in a supersized boozy drink as they walked around the crowded strip 

The city's reopening has given tourists and workers a taste of normalcy after a year of pandemic lockdown orders. Brazilian photo girls Vanessa Leite (left) 35, and Jessica Gouveia (right) 29, told DailyMail.com: 'This weekend has been great. It feels like things are back to normal. It's so much better than last year'

The city’s reopening has given tourists and workers a taste of normalcy after a year of pandemic lockdown orders. Brazilian photo girls Vanessa Leite (left) 35, and Jessica Gouveia (right) 29, told DailyMail.com: ‘This weekend has been great. It feels like things are back to normal. It’s so much better than last year’ 

Some revelers told DailyMail.com they chose to travel to Las Vegas specifically because of the reopening and 'freedom.' Pictured, a woman poses with two shirtless men in cowboy hats

Some revelers told DailyMail.com they chose to travel to Las Vegas specifically because of the reopening and ‘freedom.’ Pictured, a woman poses with two shirtless men in cowboy hats 

Las Vegas's famous showgirls were back on the strip, where they were seen donning skimpy getups and posing with revelers

Las Vegas’s famous showgirls were back on the strip, where they were seen donning skimpy getups and posing with revelers 

Although some health restrictions have been eased, Nevada is still enforcing a mask mandate, although not everyone is sticking to it. Pictured: A group of women app

Although some health restrictions have been eased, Nevada is still enforcing a mask mandate, although not everyone is sticking to it. Pictured: A group of women app

One year later: Sin City, which draws millions of tourists from all over the world every year, was buzzing with revelers again after the COVID-19 pandemic shut its iconic strip down

One year later: Sin City, which draws millions of tourists from all over the world every year, was buzzing with revelers again after the COVID-19 pandemic shut its iconic strip down 

‘I’m a bit surprised to see this many people given that Covid is still a problem, especially all the people who aren’t wearing masks.’

Mary, 30, from Atlanta, Georgia, was in town to celebrate her friend’s 30th birthday. She told DailyMail.com: ‘We’re absolutely spending our checks. Thanks Joe!’

She added: ‘I love it here. Vegas is something else. I’m not totally surprised by how busy it is because it’s Spring Break and March Madness.

‘I was expecting it to be busy, although maybe not this busy.’

Lucy Perez, 28, from San Diego, was in town with her friends Adriana Quiroz, 24, and Ruby Nonega, 27.

She said: ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy. But now people have got their stimulus checks, they’ve been sitting home for a long time so they want to get out and spend it.’

Mani Easter, 21, from Contra Costa County, California, said she was in Vegas for her own 21st birthday celebrations and said the stimulus check had helped.

The huge crowds have been well-behaved, with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department telling DailyMail.com the larger numbers have had no impact on crime so far

The huge crowds have been well-behaved, with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department telling DailyMail.com the larger numbers have had no impact on crime so far

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! The majority of revelers were seen with a drink in hand as they walked up and down the strip

A man is seen enjoying an oversized drink from the famous Fat Tuesday's

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! The majority of revelers were seen with a drink in hand as they walked up and down the strip 

Guadalupe Rodriguez, 23, and Alan Rodriguez, 25, pose on the strip after enjoying some drinks

Guadalupe Rodriguez, 23, and Alan Rodriguez, 25, pose on the strip after enjoying some drinks 

Mani Easter, 21, from Contra Costa County, California, said she was in Vegas for her own 21st birthday celebrations and said the stimulus check helped fund her trip

Lovebirds Ben Danforth, 26, and Veronica Imsan, 38, got engaged on their trip to Las Vegas

Mani Easter (left) 21, from Contra Costa County, California, said she was in Vegas for her own 21st birthday celebrations and said the stimulus check helped fund her trip. Right, lovebirds Ben Danforth, 26, and Veronica Imsan, 38, gushed over their engagement 

Friends Brea Maddox, 25, Imani Glabben, 25, Charyian Statham, 24, and Chavon Johnson, 24, were among those who traveled to Sin City over the weekend to welcome the city's lax restrictions

Friends Brea Maddox, 25, Imani Glabben, 25, Charyian Statham, 24, and Chavon Johnson, 24, were among those who traveled to Sin City over the weekend to welcome the city’s lax restrictions

Lucy Perez (center) 28, from San Diego, was in town with her friends Adriana Quiroz (left) 24, and Ruby Nonega (right) 27. She said: 'I wasn't expecting it to be so busy. But now people have got their stimulus checks, they've been sitting home for a long time so they want to get out and spend it'

Lucy Perez (center) 28, from San Diego, was in town with her friends Adriana Quiroz (left) 24, and Ruby Nonega (right) 27. She said: ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy. But now people have got their stimulus checks, they’ve been sitting home for a long time so they want to get out and spend it’

While very little to no social distancing was observed among tourists and partygoers, most adhered to the state's mask mandate while they were out and about

While very little to no social distancing was observed among tourists and partygoers, most adhered to the state’s mask mandate while they were out and about 

The reopening of the strip saw the return of Las Vegas's usual cast of characters, including Elvis impersonators, showgirls, and street performers

The reopening of the strip saw the return of Las Vegas’s usual cast of characters, including Elvis impersonators, showgirls, and street performers 

Party, party: A tourist is seen posing for photos with two women dressed in showgirl costumes on the crowded strip

Party, party: A tourist is seen posing for photos with two women dressed in showgirl costumes on the crowded strip 

She told DailyMail.com: ‘Everyone’s celebrating their stimulus checks and loving it here because it’s so open.

‘I wanted to come here because I knew nothing would be closed. I really wanted to get some normality.

‘I’m loving the lights – I love the lights and the freedom. You can’t beat it!’

Las Vegas has been hit hard by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and was shut down completely between April and June 2020.

According to tourist board figures, visitor numbers plunged by 55 per cent compared to 2019 as a result while hotels and casinos were forced to lay off record numbers of staff – 373,000 in the first month of shutdown alone.

Unemployment figures in Clark County remain the highest in Nevada with 9.9 per cent still looking for work according to the state’s department for employment.

The Nevada Resort Association said the shutdown cost workers an estimated $7.7billion in lost wages while the city took a $1billion hit in reduced tax take. 

But the reopening and resulting spike in visitor numbers is giving the city’s hotels and resorts hope for a better 2021. 

Crowds in Las Vegas during the weekend stirred talk Monday, March 22 about a coronavirus pandemic recovery arriving along with college basketball fans, spring breakers and pool partiers

Crowds in Las Vegas during the weekend stirred talk Monday, March 22 about a coronavirus pandemic recovery arriving along with college basketball fans, spring breakers and pool partiers

'Throuple' Shay Stephenson, 37, Renae Lofton, 31, and Paul Witherspoon, 39, said they had traveled from their home in Akron, Ohio, to celebrate Shay's birthday

‘Throuple’ Shay Stephenson, 37, Renae Lofton, 31, and Paul Witherspoon, 39, said they had traveled from their home in Akron, Ohio, to celebrate Shay’s birthday

Las Vegas day clubs were also in full swing, with dozens of guests seen drinking and partying at the Flamingo hotel's pool party

Las Vegas day clubs were also in full swing, with dozens of guests seen drinking and partying at the Flamingo hotel’s pool party

What pandemic? Some pool party guests ditched their masks and failed to practice social distancing during the festivities

What pandemic? Some pool party guests ditched their masks and failed to practice social distancing during the festivities 

The reopening comes after months of economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic after the strip was shut down completely between April and June 2020

The reopening comes after months of economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic after the strip was shut down completely between April and June 2020

For some visitors, the prospect of contracting COVID-19 was a thing of the past, as many were seen drinking and huddling together at hotel parties, bars, and events

For some visitors, the prospect of contracting COVID-19 was a thing of the past, as many were seen drinking and huddling together at hotel parties, bars, and events

According to tourist board figures, visitor numbers plunged by 55 per cent compared to 2019 as a result while hotels and casinos were forced to lay off record numbers of staff ¿ 373,000 in the first month of shutdown alone

According to tourist board figures, visitor numbers plunged by 55 per cent compared to 2019 as a result while hotels and casinos were forced to lay off record numbers of staff – 373,000 in the first month of shutdown alone

The city's hotels and resorts, such as Caesars Entertainment which operates Caesars Palace, The Flamingo and Bally's among others, say they are planning a series of promotions to keep visitors coming in

The city’s hotels and resorts, such as Caesars Entertainment which operates Caesars Palace, The Flamingo and Bally’s among others, say they are planning a series of promotions to keep visitors coming in

A spokesman for the recently renovated SAHARA Las Vegas told DailyMail.com: ‘Our resort continues to see an uptick in visitor volume as more people are traveling and pent-up demand continues to build.

‘We are confident Las Vegas will be a top travel destination, as evidenced by the acceleration of our $150 million reinvestment in the property.

‘SAHARA Las Vegas is focused on these enhancements which will provide our guests more award-winning dining options, a third resort pool and one-of-a-kind experiences such as Magic Mike Live.

‘These additional features will complement our new cocktail bars and lounges, poker room, expanded casino floor and guest room renovations.’

Others, such as Caesars Entertainment which operates Caesars Palace, The Flamingo and Bally’s among others, said they are planning a series of promotions to keep visitors coming in.

Spokeswoman Gia Salvaggio told DailyMail.com that a semi-annual sale is underway on rooms booked by April 15 while the hotel group is also offering discounts on stays of three or more nights.

Most kept their masks on and said wearing them was doing nothing to detract from the fun, although there were a couple of tourists who didn't like theirs

Most kept their masks on and said wearing them was doing nothing to detract from the fun, although there were a couple of tourists who didn’t like theirs

Scenes at Las Vegas casinos resembled pre-pandemic times, aside from gamblers wearing their masks and practicing social distancing protocols

Scenes at Las Vegas casinos resembled pre-pandemic times, aside from gamblers wearing their masks and practicing social distancing protocols

Safety first: Many casinos have kept health measures in place amid the reopening, including plexi-glass dividers between gamblers at tables

Safety first: Many casinos have kept health measures in place amid the reopening, including plexi-glass dividers between gamblers at tables 

The uptick in customers at casinos, hotels, and bars is a promising sign the economy could bounce back quickly

The uptick in customers at casinos, hotels, and bars is a promising sign the economy could bounce back quickly

Nevada has seen a total of 301,000 COVID-19 cases in the last year and has endured 5,174 deaths so far. But cases have been dropping, with just 225 new sufferers in the past week of which 135 were recorded in Clark County

Nevada has seen a total of 301,000 COVID-19 cases in the last year and has endured 5,174 deaths so far. But cases have been dropping, with just 225 new sufferers in the past week of which 135 were recorded in Clark County

The Strip was packed outside the Paris Las Vegas hotel on Friday, March 19, 2021 after Governor Steve Sisolak rolled back restrictions

The Strip was packed outside the Paris Las Vegas hotel on Friday, March 19, 2021 after Governor Steve Sisolak rolled back restrictions 

Workers too were breathing a sigh of relief. Brazilian photo girls Vanessa Leite, 35, and Jessica Gouveia, 29, told DailyMail.com: ‘This weekend has been great. It feels like things are back to normal. It’s so much better than last year.’

The huge crowds have also been well-behaved, with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department telling DailyMail.com the larger numbers have had no impact on crime so far.

A spokesman said: ‘The LVMPD has not experienced any recent criminal issues as it pertains to spring break.

‘We ask that everyone abides by our governor’s mandates on mask wearing and social distancing.’

Nevada has seen a total of 301,000 Covid cases in the last year and has endured 5,174 deaths so far.

But cases have been dropping, with just 225 new sufferers in the past week of which 135 were recorded in Clark County.

Although some health restrictions have been eased, Nevada is still enforcing a mask mandate – although not everyone is sticking to it.

The influx of tourists also saw hotels hike up their prices again. Paris Las Vegas ¿ which offered rooms last July for a bargain $55 ¿ was selling beds for $284. At neighboring Bally's, stays shot up to $269 while drink prices were also hiked with domestic Dos Equis beers selling for $13 a bottle

The influx of tourists also saw hotels hike up their prices again. Paris Las Vegas – which offered rooms last July for a bargain $55 – was selling beds for $284. At neighboring Bally’s, stays shot up to $269 while drink prices were also hiked with domestic Dos Equis beers selling for $13 a bottle

A woman appears to take a video or photo out of the sunroof of a car as it drives down the famous Las Vegas Strip

A woman appears to take a video or photo out of the sunroof of a car as it drives down the famous Las Vegas Strip 

Many members of the crowd were seen wearing humorous novelty tees as they indulged in the city, including Mario Rencher, 24, Latasha Rencher, 25

Many members of the crowd were seen wearing humorous novelty tees as they indulged in the city, including Mario Rencher, 24, Latasha Rencher, 25

On Saturday afternoon, a small but noisy anti-mask protest was seen proceeding down the Strip, while some revelers chose to go without.

Most kept their masks on and said wearing them was doing nothing to detract from the fun, although there were a couple of tourists who didn’t like theirs.

Dani Josaitis, 36, from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, said: ‘We’re from Idaho where you don’t have to wear a mask but here you do.’

Her friend Savannah Cheshire, 23, added: ‘I was expecting to have to wear a mask but it’s not as relaxed as I thought it would be.’

Others didn’t care. ‘Throuple’ Shay Stephenson, 37, Renae Lofton, 31, and Paul Witherspoon, 39, said they had traveled from their home in Akron, Ohio, to celebrate Shay’s birthday.

She said: ‘We’re here because it’s opening up and I wanted to do something nice for my birthday.

‘We’re having a great time – it’s something else.’

Renae said the trio were planning to treat themselves to a lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and are huge fans of the British chef.

She said: ‘We’re huge fans! He’s like our TV husband.’

Ben Danforth, 26, from Monroe, Louisiana, said he was thrilled to be in Vegas for the first time and took the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend Veronica Imson, 38.

Speaking to DailyMail.com after his proposal was accepted, he said: ‘It’s crazy busy with Covid and everything but I’m glad I got the chance to propose here.

‘It was a spur of the moment thing but I’m really excited she said yes. The future is bright.’


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button