English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Nevada casinos face 25% occupancy limit under new COVID rules

Gov. Steve Sisolak has said Nevada casinos can remain open, but they face number of new restrictions.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, occupancy limitations at casinos and their bars and restaurants will drop from 50 percent to 25 percent. Reservations are now required for restaurants and bars that serve foods, meaning walk-ins are not allowed.

In a Sunday press conference, Sisolak said he has had conversations with “most gaming operators” in the last 24 hours, and said the full force of the Nevada Gaming Control Board will be behind the implementation and enforcement of the new requirements.

He added that if casinos do not follow the new requirements, “they will suffer the consequences.”

Newly-appointed Control Board Chairman Brin Gibson said the state’s gaming regulatory body will vigorously enforce the new gaming floor occupancy restrictions among the state’s licensees.

“The more successfully Nevada mitigates the current spread of COVID over the next several weeks, the more likely we are to experience a complete return to current gaming floor occupancy percentages at that point” he said.

The Nevada Gaming Commission already has acted on nine complaints brought by the Control Board against licensees since late July.

Virginia Valentine, president and CEO of the Nevada Resort Association, said the group understands why the governor heightened restrictions, and urged the public to follow the new mandates.

“We understand the governor’s actions seek to balance the best interests of public health with the ongoing economic impacts,” she said. “Like every state in the nation, Nevada faces a grim future if the virus’ spread is not contained and reversed quickly.”

Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said putting the health and safety of the state’s residents and visitors is the organization’s highest priority.

“Our resorts, casinos and attractions remain committed to supporting the state’s directives and doing our part to reduce the spread of the virus,” he said.

Strip casino operator MGM Resorts International is immediately working to adjust its operations to comply with the new restrictions, spokesman Brian Ahern said in an emailed statement from the company.

He added that the new restriction “will clearly have a major impact” on entertainment, and the company is working with its partners to determine a path forward.

“We will share that information as quickly as possible to minimize guest inconvenience,” Ahern said. “The health and safety of our employees and guests is our number one priority and we remain committed to the comprehensive plan we have put in place. While we recognize these are challenging times, we are encouraged by positive news of vaccines on the horizon and believe deeply that our resilient community will rebound.”