Empty Streets In Las Vegas
An empty Las Vegas street and casino during the pandemic. Photo credit: Ron Cogswell / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

After a year of pandemic closures, Las Vegas restaurants, bars, casinos, and more are reopening as frontline workers receive the vaccines they so desperately need.

The lights of the famed Las Vegas Strip keep getting brighter as Nevada’s fight against the virus steadily improves.

After suffering a devastating unemployment rate of 10.4 percent — deemed the highest among all large cities in the US by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — the Las Vegas Strip, the state’s largest tourist attraction, is now up and running after Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) relaxed restrictions for Nevada’s businesses and public spaces. 

As of March 15, restaurants, gyms, museums, bars, gaming floors, arcades, and places of worship are all allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, while the limit on large gatherings will increase to a maximum of 250 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever comes first. Nevada public schools are also working with students of all grades within a hybrid learning model as of March 1, though full-time remote learning is still available for students who are more comfortable working remotely. 

These changes come as daily cases and deaths related to COVID-19 decrease; thus far, Nevada has seen 302,171 infections and lost 5,215 residents to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Clark County accounts for 233,305 — or 77 percent — of the total statewide infections and 4,079 — or 78 percent — of the total deaths. 

According to the Nevada Health Response website, vaccines first arrived in the state on December 14, 2020, and were promptly administered to residents through county-specific distribution plans. Hospital workers were the first to receive the vaccine until eligibility expanded to include frontline workers and other healthcare professionals, followed by those 65 and older, teachers, and public transportation workers.

In Clark County, home of Las Vegas, independent pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Albertson’s are vaccinating those 16 and older with underlying health conditions, health care workers, children in preschool and K-12, along with child care employees, higher education professionals, and grocery store workers. 

Hospitality, restaurant, and casino workers also learned on March 11 that they are now eligible to receive the much-needed shots, helping to make the Las Vegas lights a little bit brighter.


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