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Weekend won’t be ‘typical’ Fourth of July in Vegas


Steve Marcus

A sign at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign recommends social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Las Vegas Strip Friday, March 27, 2020.

Fri, Jul 3, 2020 (2 a.m.)

Fourth of July weekend in 2019 attracted about 309,000 visitors to Las Vegas for a hotel occupancy rate of about 98%, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Those visitors contributed $252.6 million in direct spending to generate a total economic impact of $436 million to the region, according to the authority.

That won’t be the case this weekend.

Because some resorts in Las Vegas are still shuttered in the gradual reopening of the economy after COVID-19 closures, the authority will not publish an estimate for this weekend’s economic impact to the area, officials said.

Some Las Vegas resorts are reporting positive predictions for the weekend, although visitor capacity is limited because many properties have self-imposed occupancy limits.

A bulk of the visitors will continue to come from neighboring states, where drive-in traffic from California usually accounts for the most clientele.

“We’re nearly sold out and I’m feeling pretty confident that it’s going to be a great weekend,” said Hussain Mahrous, general manager of M Resort in Henderson. “Demand has been good. Our pool has been packed every day since we reopened it.”

Properties started to gradually reopen June 4, and operators say the interest from visitors has been steady. For instance, rooms at Caesars Palace this weekend start at $229 nightly.

“While this isn’t our typical Fourth of July, we are pleased with the interest in the number of reservations being made for this weekend,” said Stephen Thayer, vice president and general manager of the Strat. “For many, this holiday weekend will be the first time they’ve traveled since the shutdown. Many of our reservations are coming from drive-in markets. From feedback we’ve received and comments on social media, people do seem excited about celebrating Independence Day with us.”

Others share the optimism.

MGM spokeswoman Jenn Michaels, in an emailed statement, said “demand looks strong and the properties will have good energy for the holiday weekend.” Caesars properties on the Strip — Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, the Flamingo and Harrah’s Las Vegas — are offering up to 35% off rooms through July 8.

Properties are following safety protocols established by the state to prevent the virus spread, which includes a mandate requiring all to wear protective face coverings. Inside the Flamingo last weekend, casino employees were seen reminding mask-less patrons of the face covering rule, though the vast majority of guests seemed to be wearing one.

“It takes some getting used to,” Thayer said. “We have found that, with consistent regulations throughout the Strip, people are more apt to follow the guidelines. Our team members have done a fantastic job of consistently reminding our guests that masks are mandatory, and we have had very few issues with guests.”

Beyond this weekend, it will be important to follow how increased COVID-19 cases — both in Nevada and in a number of hot spots around the country — affect visitation to Southern Nevada. What happens for the remainder of the summer is still very much up in the air, Mahrous said.

In July of last year, according to statistics from the authority, just over 3.6 million people visited Las Vegas. To compare with post-pandemic numbers, the LVCVA reported that Las Vegas welcomed only 151,000 visitors in May, a time when casinos were shut down for the entire month. The May figure was a staggering 96% drop from May 2019.

“I thought the ramp-up would take a little longer than it has, but we’ve been pleased with what we’ve opened so far,” Mahrous said. “The real test is what happens in July and August after the Fourth of July weekend. We’re all waiting to see how the city reacts as the reopening goes from new to normal.”


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