Any improvements to seating capacity are better than nothing for Las Vegas poker rooms that have been forced to decrease attendance in recent months. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak allowed businesses such as casinos and restaurants to begin operating at slightly higher capacity starting on Monday.
The new restrictions permit casino floors to reach 35 percent of the maximum allowable capacity, up from 25%. That isn’t a significant increase, clearly, but that figure will jump to 50% on March 15, and that is a significant improvement, albeit still well below full capacity.
Sisolak laid out a “Safe Reopening Plan” as the state’s COVID-19 cases are finally on the decline. The plan guarantees that local authorities will make their own decisions on restrictions starting May 1. So, that means Sisolak would then no longer have control on the restrictions. Individual counties would be permitted to choose their own path.
Las Vegas is in Clark County, a predominantly Liberal area, so it’s unclear how willing the county will be to open everything up on May 1. We’ll have to wait and see.
For the time being, poker rooms will be permitted to slightly increase seating. But only 100 players can be seated in the room at a time until March 15 when that increases to 250. The 35% rule still applies, meaning the room can’t have 100 patrons if that exceeds 35% of that room’s allowable capacity, per the fire code.
More than just poker rooms
Sisolak’s new restrictions also apply to restaurants and bars. So, if you’re going out to eat in Las Vegas (or Reno, or anywhere else in Nevada), seating capacity will be limited to 35% (50% on March 15).
But there is some good news for the foodies out there who love to dine out. For the past few months, Sisolak required every customer make a reservation prior to arriving at the restaurant. Many locals and tourists despised the rule as it became a nuisance. Fortunately, that restriction will be lifted on Monday, the day after Valentine’s Day.
With that said, even though Sisolak is increasing seating limits, many other COVID-19 guidelines still apply. Face masks remain required in public at all times, except when eating or drinking, in every Nevada establishment. In the poker rooms, you can expect to sit behind a plexiglass divider at the tables for the foreseeable future.
As for retail stores and malls, the governor has increased capacity to 50%. Ditto for nail and hair salons, museums, and zoos.
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