Goodbye COVID-19?: Las Vegas Casinos Returning to Full Capacity

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One week after Wynn returned to full capacity, numerous other major Las Vegas casinos have finally gone back to operating like the pandemic is over. For the first time in over a year, MGM Resorts, which operates nine casino resorts in Southern Nevada, among other casinos in town, is at full capacity.

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Las Vegas casinos are finally saying adios to the pandemic. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The pandemic isn’t fully gone and will likely continue to be an issue for quite some time, if not forever, most medical experts agree. But much of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19, and that has made it possible for many Las Vegas casinos to return to full casino floors.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) made it clear that unless most of the employees are vaccinated, a casino would remain at 80% capacity. Over the past few weeks, casino executives have encouraged employees to get vaccinated, and the efforts have been paying off.

All the major casino brands in Las Vegas are now back to full capacity. MGM Resorts announced the news on Twitter to the delight of its customers.

“Our Las Vegas destinations have been approved to operate our gaming floors at 100% occupancy. This waiver was approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board based on MGM Resorts’ work to vaccinate our workforce,” @MGMResortsIntl wrote.

Caesars Entertainment, Wynn, Station Casinos, Cosmopolitan, and many other resorts in Las Vegas are now also back to full capacity without social distancing guidelines in place for the first time since early March 2020. This is also good news for the 20 open poker rooms in town, which can now also return to full capacity. Plexiglass dividers are starting to come down also at places such as Wynn.

Face masks, however, are still required in all businesses, including restaurants, casinos, and stores. The hotels and restaurants within the resorts are still stuck at 80% capacity. The gaming board only has control over the casino floor operations, and that doesn’t include non-gaming businesses.

Impact on the World Series of Poker

As the COVID-19 restrictions begin fading away, Las Vegas is beginning to boom again, with tourists flocking to town in droves from all over the country. The Strip is as packed as ever in the middle of May, and hotel rates are up as a result.

The elimination of many COVID-10 restrictions will be beneficial to the 2021 World Series of Poker, which is set to begin in late September. Jack Effel, the WSOP’s Vice President, recently told CardsChat News that the WSOP would have to limit the number of events if capacity restrictions remain in place come fall.

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