Things are starting to warm up in the desert as Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, sets June 1st as the target date to fully open the state. While all counties have had the option to open at 100% since May 1st, Sisolak expects every county to be open at full capacity by June.
May 1st also saw the statewide mandate on social distancing lifted as each county is now allowed to set their own regulations. While many restrictions have been eased back and will be eased even further in the following month, masks are not going anywhere. Nevada expects everyone to wear masks indoors and at public gatherings.
Clark County Update
As we approach June 1st, most outsiders will have their eyes on Clark County in particular being that it’s home to Las Vegas, the center of the event and trade show world. Currently, Clark County has eased restrictions essentially allowing the city to operate at 80% capacity for many restaurants, bars, clubs, resorts, and assorted venues.
While local leaders are excited to get Vegas back to its full potential, they understand that safety is a top priority. Opening too fast with little guidance is not in the best interest of anyone which is why they have released #Vegas Smart. This easy to use tool provides the standard health guidelines for the city and a list of individual health and wellness guidelines for different properties you may visit during your stay.
Here are several key updates and regulations to know that went into effect May 1st in Clark County
1. Table seating increased to 12 people per table
2. No seating limits for outdoor dining
3. Resorts can operate at 80% capacity with social distancing and following local guidelines
4. Buffets can reopen with masked employee supervision and hand sanitizer
5. Masks are required in public
6. 3ft social distancing is the local guideline
7. Hand washing is encouraged at every location
Events and Trade Shows
Since May 1st in Clark County, gatherings under 20,000 people could be approved with 3 feet social distancing and up to 80% fire code capacity if a.) the event is outdoors or indoors but well ventilated or b.) 50% of the community has completed their first COVID 19 vaccination.
As we move towards June 1st and 100% of fire code capacity, additional guidelines have been proposed.
Shows under 20,000 can reach 100% of fire code capacity with no distancing regulations if
A. Attendees have completed their vaccinations within at least 14 days prior to the event or can provide a negative PCR test taken 24-48 hours prior to the event.
B. The event is outdoors or well ventilated
C. At least 50% of the community has their first dose of the COVID 19 vaccination
Also, once 60% of the entire event population has their full COVID 19 vaccinations, events under 20,000 can open at 100% of fire code with no distancing restrictions or need to submit a large gathering plan.
Shows over 20,000 people must submit a large gathering plan for approval. Here is a link to the official Clark County Proposed Mitigation and Enforcement Plan and Governor Sisolak’s press conference.
Aside from local and state guidelines, it will be common to see events, trade shows, and venues provide their own restrictions as well.
A great example of this is the World of Concrete show taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center on June 8-10. The event homepage says they expect “more than 60,000 industry professionals from all around the world” but this number may be including some virtual attendance as well. If you click on their safety requirements link, you will find the below video showing the Informa AllSecure guidelines the event will be following.
Is The Timing Right?
Some people, including health officials in Washoe County (home of Reno), are concerned that reopening entirely will accelerate the recent spike in some counties.(US News and Reports)
The CDC recommends a 5% positive test rate or below for 14 consecutive days before fully reopening. As of May 4th, 2021, Nevada as a state is at 5.4% positive test rate while Clark County was at a 5.8% positive test rate with roughly 45% of county residents, 16 and up, having received at least one vaccination shot. However, several other counties in the state have double digit positive test rates. The numbers in Clark County and Nevada as a whole are close but they are currently not at the federally recommended level for statewide reopening.
The right time to fully reopen is not an easy decision to make with so many factors such as general health, economics, education, employment, etc. This is why state and local leaders in Nevada are really pushing for everyone to work together to follow the safety guidelines and make this a successful transition.
People and Money Are Coming Back To Las Vegas
While some may think it’s too early, plenty of people see the current Las Vegas deals as too hard to resist. Roughly $760 can buy a couple two round-trip non-stop flights and three nights at a highly rated resort on the strip. It’s deals like this that are leading to a huge bounce back for the city.
According to the AP, the rush was initially led by people 60 or older, with disposable income, who were recently vaccinated. If being vaccinated proves to be a key determinant for customers, it would make sense to see the age range steadily trend younger this summer.
In March of 2021, Nevada saw casino winnings reach over $1 billion dollars, the largest mark in eight years. Half of these winnings occurred on the Vegas strip while at 50% capacity with 6ft social distancing restrictions.
In that same time period, 22 million visitors came to the city to break free of their pandemic isolation and let their $1,400 stimulus checks ride on red.
As the spring turns to summer and conventions start returning, Las Vegas should expect an even bigger boost. The CEO of Caesars Entertainment says the upcoming convention outlook for Las Vegas looks “extremely strong”. This sentiment is backed by a busy second half calendar for the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Though nothing is guaranteed, most signs are pointing to a big 2021 for Las Vegas. As vaccination numbers grow and positive test rates drop, this city is expected to continue its rapid revival. This is a great sign for the country as a whole but even more encouraging for the convention crowd that was decimated in 2020. We’re hopeful and optimistic that a Vegas boom this summer could be enough to make the second half of 2021 a major turning point in the event and trade show industry.