Nevada casinos may close as COVID-19 outbreak worsens

By William Brown Updated
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Nevada politicians have made the decision to close small gaming operations in the state, with fears that casinos could be next.

Click Lancashire Independent News reports that Nevada spokeswoman Meghin Delaney confirmed that bars inside country casinos must close although drinks will still be available, but patrons won’t be able to sit and drink at the bar.

The state has seen an uptick in new coronavirus cases since beginning to reopen businesses last month.

Among the areas that are affected by the new ruling are the Clark and Washoe Counties, which include the Las Vegas Valley and Reno.

Governor Steve Sisolak ordered a number of the state’s “restricted” gaming licensees – bars, pubs and other small venues that host a handful of electronic gaming machines but aren’t licensed to serve food to customers – to close their venues following a spike in COVID-19 infections in certain counties.

In an official press release last week, Mr Sisolak said only 50 per cent of bars and restaurant bar areas visited by officials were following guidelines.

Mr Sisolak said he made the decision to issue the mandate, which brings the counties back to phase one of Nevada’s reopening rules, after speaking with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who warned that Nevada was verging on a “precarious condition where hospitals are overwhelmed with patients” without “swift policy action” to stop the spread of the virus.

As of Wednesday, Nevada also have 935 hospitalisations from confirmed or suspected coronavirus, a higher number than the state experienced during the pandemic’s peak in April.

“We can only take so many days of that before we’re overwhelmed,” he said.

Several states experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases, hospitalisation and deaths have also opted to close bars as part of their mitigation strategy, including California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan and Florida.

The latest directive for Washoe and Clarke counties to return to phase one restrictions comes just one month after gaming and entertainment businesses began to reopen in Nevada.

Mr Sisolak said the closure requirement will also affect any bartop with an attached casino gaming machine.

The governor reminded the state’s citizens that they are “safer at home” and that in the event they venture out, they are safer wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing their hands.

“It is costing lives to have people not mask” as reported by online news site, The Nevada Independent.

Las Vegas casinos opens for business in June

The Press Herald reported in June that the cards are being dealt, the dice are rolling and the slot machines flashed and jingled for the first customers who started gambling again early Thursday throughout Nevada.

“The past few months have presented our city with an unprecedented challenge,” Derek Stevens, owner of two downtown Las Vegas casinos that were shuttered along with all gambling establishments in March.

“We are excited to get our employees back to work and to welcome guests to the entertainment capital of the world.”

Hotel-casinos in downtown and suburban Las Vegas were the first to open at 12:01am, to be followed later in the morning by a restart of the iconic Bellagio fountain and several resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

The D Hotel and Casino, one of Steven’s two downtown properties, had several dozen people waiting in line for the doors to open shortly after midnight.

After guests had their temperature checked at the door, the casino was quickly crowded with revellers and gamblers, while the dealers wore face masks or shields.

Even a bartender dancing on top of a bar in lingerie was donning a face mask.

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