Nevada Officials Request Larger Gathering Sizes

State of Nevada

Officials in Nevada are requesting the gathering size of live events be increased to help struggling areas of the state like Las Vegas.

Capacity limits have been low across the United States when it comes to casinos as well as live events and public gatherings. The limit is due to the threat of the coronavirus. The more people are gathered together, the higher the risk of spread. In Nevada, officials are hoping to see the gathering size limits increased just a little bit to try and help the struggling state economy.

Presenting a Plan

Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick is preparing to present a plan to the COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force of Nevada. The goal is to see the capacity limit increased from 25% to 50%. This percentage would apply to public gatherings and live entertainment.

Kirkpatrick is recommending that the 50% option start on March 1. She feels it would be great to start sooner but doesn’t want to overpromise to people on how fast the change could take place. Governor Steve Sisolak issued a mandate that casinos and other businesses should be operating at 25%. Live entertainment and public gatherings are also set at this limit.

The limits are being called a pause and will be in place until February 12. Officials seem to think the governor will keep the limit in place or they at least want to propose the increase in case it will push him to allow more people to gather.

Speeding Up Economic Recovery

Virginia Valentine is the President of the Nevada Resort Association. She spoke with the Las Vegas Review Journal, stating that businesses are having a difficult time operating based on the capacity limits. The speed of recovery in Las Vegas is dependent on how soon events and gatherings can be offered. Tens of thousands of jobs would also be returned if capacity limits are increased.

According to Valentine, various stakeholders have been working plans to bring back events and meetings. Vaccine distribution, testing advances, and positive health data are helping the process. Valentine said that everyone working on the proposal wants to give event organizers predictability.

Event organizers need to time to set up and schedule an event. It is difficult to do this when the restrictions are constantly changing. In Las Vegas in particular, as long as the events and meeting sector are not back in action, the economy will struggle.

Tourism continues to be down in the state, and at high levels in Sin City. Things have been so slow that casinos are not operating mid-week to save on expenses. Travelers are less likely to go to Las Vegas due to fear of contracting the virus, despite the fact that casinos are doing everything they can to help slow the spread.

Casinos have hand sanitizer stations in place throughout their properties, social distancing measures, and mask mandates. Employees are also cleaning on a continual basis, even after players leave slot machines, to make sure that the virus is unable to spread if it exists inside the space.

Air and vehicle travel have taken a large hit in Nevada. As players are not coming to the state, meetings and conventions could make up for the loss. But the casinos cannot host such events due to the restrictions.

If the capacity rates can be increased even to 50%, the casinos can start to offer space for smaller meetings and events. This would bring in travelers for hotel stays, dining, beverage spending, and gambling. Even at a small rate, it would provide revenues that the casinos are not making currently. Over the next few days, we should see if the governor is open to the suggestion and if he will even consider lifting the restrictions in this manner.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.