Las Vegas is closed!
For several weeks, the mantra surrounding the Coronavirus was “be prepared, don’t panic” but as this virus turned into a global pandemic health crisis, striking indiscriminately, fear and panic set in which was evidenced by long lines at the grocery stores, empty shelves, and the hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. With closures from Broadway to Disneyland and the entire country of Italy, we are faced with the realization that the Coronavirus is not the “typical” flu; it’s not something to joke about or ignore. Because it is unprecedented, it is unpredictable but what we do know is that it is highly contagious, catastrophic, and deadly!
While every state in the U.S. has been hit with the Coronavirus, currently there are 109 cases in Las Vegas, 150 total in the state and sadly, two deaths – and these statistics change daily. In a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) throughout the City of Las Vegas and the entire State of Nevada, Governor Steve Sisolak announced in a news conference on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, a 30 day mandatary closure of all casinos, hotels, bars and restaurants (except for those who can offer take-out, drive-thru and delivery services) and further ordered all gaming machines in grocery and convenience stores be turned off. He strongly urged that all nonessential businesses, such as spas and salons and fitness centers, do the same. This announcement came after MGM Resorts International voluntarily closed its nightclubs and dayclubs on March 13. “If your business brings groups of people together it should not be open,” said Sisolak, “This is effecting the lives of our citizens. People are dying. Every day that is delayed here, I’m losing a dozen people on the back end that are going to die as a result of this.”
But as of Friday, March 20, with the increased cases of the Coronavirus on the rise in the City and State, the Governor was no longer asking for nonessentials businesses to close their doors, he demanded it!
“Stay Home for Nevada”
The closures came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of the new “social distancing” trend, called for the cancellation or postponement of gatherings and events of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks to try to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
The following day, in the midst of the Las Vegas Strip shutting down, thousands of Las Vegans were terminated, furloughed or laid off and within minutes, the State’s unemployment website crashed! The Mayor pleaded with the Governor to shorten the 30 days, but nothing has changed. While Las Vegans hunker down and adjust to a new “normal”, we are told to “stay home” unless it is an emergency. So, we try to stay sane, stay safe and stay home by hosting virtual happy hours, club nights, playdates and hugs with our family and friends.
The Strip Goes Dark
The Las Vegas Strip, with its bright lights, mega resorts and vibrant nightlife, is deserted and devastated. The Coronavirus has ravaged the world and shaken Las Vegas to its core. The last time The Strip went dark, it was a nationwide day of mourning for President John F. Kennedy’s funeral on November 25, 1963. This once bustling City, full of life, is now empty and eerily quiet.
Of all the industries threatened by the Coronavirus, it has deeply affected the City’s tour and travel, gaming, and hospitality industries – industries that fuel billions of dollars for the economy every year and supports thousands of jobs. This closure has dealt a heavy blow to gamblers, conventioneers, and tourists who come to Vegas to take advantage of all the City has to offer. Dayclubs, nightclubs, hotel casinos and restaurants shut down; weddings, conferences, conventions and trade shows cancelled or rescheduled, and headliners who have postponed their residencies. Concerts, pool parties and nightclubs, once filled with jam-packed dance floors, electronic dance music, virtual concerts and impressive laser light shows, are closed until further notice – DJs are out of work. The Entertainment Capital of the World has come to a screeching halt.
The Coronavirus Has Changed the World
With information on the Coronavirus changing rapidly, it’s hard to keep up. But in this world of uncertainty, Vegas remains resilient. With a crisis comes opportunity. This City will emerge from this crisis better and stronger and ready to welcome tourists back with open arms. #VegasStrong