Nevada allows casinos to raise capacity to 35%

Restrictions on Nevada casinos are loosening today, February 15. Governor Steve Sisolak has announced that casinos can expand their capacity from the previous 25% limit to 35%.

Las Vegas, Nevada

โ€œAs we ease restrictions, we must follow the science and studies, which states clearly and repeatedly that closures to certain settings are more impactful in reducing disease transmission,โ€ Sisolak said February 11 update on Nevadaโ€™s COVID-19 response efforts. โ€œWhile we are hopeful that trends will continue to decrease if all mitigation measures are followed, we must remain flexible โ€“ as we have done all along.โ€

These restrictions could be relaxed thanks to a much-improved Covid-19 transmission rate. Whereas there were 2,709 average daily cases in the early days of December, the most recent 14-day average is 650 cases.

On top of the 10% jump, if the pandemic continues as expected, businesses will be allowed another jump to 50% capacity on March 15. But if everyone does their part and reduces Covid-19 spread by April 15, Nevada will hand control over to local jurisdictions. โ€œIn order to reach this goal, counties will have from now through the end of April to demonstrate a decrease in COVID trends, adequate hospital capacity within their region, and evidence that they can continue performing an adequate level,โ€ Sisolak said.

That would be welcome news to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. She gained viral infamy in April 2020, arguing Las Vegas should be allowed to re-open at that early date.

But casinos will still have to work with their regulators, and may have their capacity restricted longer than other establishments. โ€œThe Gaming Control Board will make that call,โ€ Sisolak said during a virtual press conference. โ€œThe Board and the Gaming Commission ultimately have authority over any licensed properties.โ€

โ€œThe goal of this plan is to avoid a scenario where I have to come before all of you again and pause our efforts,โ€ Sisolak said. โ€œI believe this plan can work, but we must all invest in making it successful.โ€

Casino execs are hopeful that another pause wonโ€™t be necessary. โ€œHopefully with the fact that the numbers seem to be going in the right direction relative to COVID โ€ฆ that are monitored in the Las Vegas market, weโ€™re hopeful in the near future, we will be able to return to higher occupancy levels in our facilities,โ€ Red Rock Resorts Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said.