What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But for the past year, who stays in Vegas has been a considerably smaller number.
It’s been one year since the coronavirus pandemic caused a shutdown of the Las Vegas Strip. As the year progressed, it slowly began reopening on a limited basis, and there are now signs that a return to normal is on the horizon.
One step toward that goal was announced this week when MGM Resorts declared three of its most popular properties will return to 24/7 operations. The Mirage, Park MGM, and Mandalay Bay will begin operating its casinos and all of its rooms without interruption starting March 3.
“As we begin to see positive signs around the public’s sentiment about traveling, coupled with important progress on the vaccination front and decreasing COVID-19 case numbers, bringing Mandalay Bay, Park MGM and The Mirage back to full-week operations is an important step for us,” Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts CEO and president, said in a statement.
The three are the last of MGM’s properties in Las Vegas to return to full operations.
Most of the hotels on the Strip have returned to regular operations, although the restaurants, entertainment venues, and other amenities are either closed or limited.
Caesars Entertainment, the other major owner of resorts on the Strip, have opened the majority of its properties. Planet Hollywood, the Rio, and the Linq remain the last ones taking guests only on weekends.
“We remain optimistic about Las Vegas’ recovery and our ability to bring employees back to work as business volumes allow us to do so,” Hornbuckle said of the upcoming openings.
When the entertainment portion of Las Vegas will return remains a huge question mark, although MGM is taking baby steps in that process.
David Copperfield’s magic show is restarting its run at the MGM Grand on March 21, and Terry Fator is launching a new show at New York-New York on March 18.
A few smaller shows and comedy venues also returned in February.
All of the shows that have restarted or have return dates in place have limited capacity and strict protocols in place to attend.
“Bringing entertainment back to the Las Vegas experience is key to our city’s recovery, and we will work closely with our partners to do so, with the health and safety of our employees and guests as a priority,” said George Kliavkoff, MGM Resorts’ president of entertainment and sports.
As part of the state regulations, casino floors and indoor dining across the state are limited to 35 percent capacity. Outdoor dining has no limit on capacity.
The Vegas Golden Knights, the city’s NHL team, has submitted plans to the state and the league to allow some fans back in their arena for games starting in March. Their proposal calls for 20 percent capacity -- or about 3,500 spectators -- at T-Mobile Arena for games.
Although the hotels are open, demand is keeping prices for rooms at exceptionally low rates. Midweek at most of the largest hotels, rooms are available for as little as $30 per night, with some last-minute deals dropping the prices even more.
For the latest on travel news in relation to the pandemic, keep our COVID-19 category handy.