Nevada Extends 25% Casino Occupancy

Nevada coronavirus

The governor of Nevada announced that he is extending the 25% occupancy limit for casinos, bars, and restaurants until Jan. 15, 2021.

Lockdown Alternative

Governor Steve Sisolak reviewed the COVID-19 case numbers and decided to extend the casino capacity limits put in place before Thanksgiving for another month. He referred to the 25% casino capacity restrictions as a “pause.” Casino showrooms will also be limited to no more than 50 in the audience or 25% capacity, whichever number is lower.

Previously, Nevada casinos were on lockdown from March through July, resulting in high unemployment and massive revenue losses for casinos and the state. After opening the casinos again in July, the coronavirus numbers began to rise again, prompting the current restrictions. The previous 50% capacity limit did not curb the rise in COVID cases, so the governor implemented the current 25% cap.

The governor explained that he is not concerned about the price of casino stocks during the restrictions, only the hundreds of thousands of employees who work at casinos. According to the governor, southern Nevada’s only big industry is tourism and hospitality. “If we take that away, the bottom falls out,” he said.

The governor’s restrictions have met with criticism from the gaming industry and public officials alike. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called Gov. Sisolak “a dictator.”

Holiday Impact

Las Vegas casinos are already on limited capacity on weekdays and some have closed completely until the weekend. The 25% capacity restriction will have an impact on weekend casino visits, but not as much as one might expect.

Analysts predict that the Christmas holiday season is the perfect time for these restrictions, since Las Vegas is not a typical Christmas destination. If the casinos can withstand the loss of visitors until the coronavirus vaccine is widely available, it will be business as usual at casinos.

Once the vaccine is available to everyone and air travel resumes, Nevada casinos will be poised for a major comeback. By next summer, casinos should be back in the black and doing a brisk trade.

Nevada officials reported 2,882 new coronavirus cases as of Sunday, with 19 additional deaths. The total number of cases in Nevada since the beginning of the pandemic is 190,000 and the total number of deaths is 2,557.

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