Las Vegas Casinos Help Set Record But Virus Effects Apparent –

Over the last few decades, I’ve visited Las Vegas scores of times, often for professional reasons. At the risk of dating myself, I still have plastic cocktail stirrers and matchbooks from most of the casinos that were imploded.

Without being cognizant of the impending timing at the moment, I was there in March 2020. I left just before the March 17 shutdown that was initially expected to be a month-long response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic but wound up turning Vegas into a post-apocalyptic ghost town for months.

The reopening of the Nevada casino industry, including the famous Strip and downtown’s Fremont Street, occurred in stages with June 1, 2021, a milestone date for businesses returning at full-throttle, meaning 100% occupancy.

Lately, the COVID virus’ Delta variant forced a return to a masks-on policy in public places indoors, including in casinos.

Regardless of some anticipated inconveniences, for me, it was time to return to Las Vegas. I was far from being the only one to get the itch.

In fact, for several months beginning in the spring, visitors have been finding their way back to Vegas – as evidenced by Nevada’s gaming revenue numbers. In July, Nevada posted its fifth straight month of gaming revenues topping $1 billion. The July figure was $1.36 billion, a single-month record that beat May’s $1.23 billion.

Lingering Evidence of COVID-19 Lockdown

Yet, the numbers aside, this is not quite the same Las Vegas I left in March 2020. The pandemic has left its fingerprints. Some restaurants and shows that were shut down by the pandemic were still not re-opened and some are gone permanently. There is a noticeable absence of international visitors because travel restrictions are still an impediment.

There’s an emphasis on no-touch protocols from mobile hotel check-ins to QR codes on restaurant tables for diners to see menus. Businesses, including

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