Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D) put some new COVID-19 restrictions on statewide businesses, but he refuses to shutdown the state’s economy. The latter is some good news for poker players in Reno and Las Vegas. But the governor’s new coronavirus guidelines aren’t necessarily beneficial to the live poker scene.
Much like many other states in the U.S., the Silver State is struggling to slow the spread of COVID-19. Even the governor has recently contracted the virus, although he’s asymptomatic. With tourists flocking to the Las Vegas casinos since they reopened at the beginning of June, coronavirus cases have steadily been on the rise.
On November 21, the state reported over 2,500 new cases of COVID-19, a daily record. The next day (Sunday), Nevada surpassed 2,000 cases yet again. That’s an extremely high amount for a state with a population of just over 3 million. Nevada, as the governor said in his address to the state on Sunday evening, now has more than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths. And likely more victims have contracted the virus while on vacation in Las Vegas but have been counted in stats for the state they reside.
Two weeks ago, Sisolak issued a warning to his residents: either shape up and flatten the curve or he will impose new restrictions. Nevada’s COVID-19 cases continued on an upward trajectory. As a result, the Democratic politician felt it was necessary to make some changes that likely won’t sit well with some poker players.
What’s new in Nevada?
For those coming to Las Vegas or Reno to play poker in the next few weeks, you should be aware of some changes. The poker rooms will only be permitted to operate with 25% of the maximum allowed occupancy. Since June when the casinos reopened, the card rooms had been operating at 50% capacity.
Sisolak is attempting to minimize big crowds, and as such is putting stringent restrictions on casinos. All casinos in the state can only operate at 25% of the maximum capacity for at least the next three weeks. At that point, on December 12, the governor will reevaluate things and determine if he is ready to remove the new restrictions. Or, if COVID-19 cases don’t start dropping, he may choose to impose even stricter guidelines.
Poker rooms and casinos aren’t the only businesses that will suffer from the new coronavirus restrictions. Nevada’s restaurants, which have been operating at 50% capacity since May, must now lower maximum capacity to 25%. That means many servers and cooks will likely be without work until the restrictions are lifted. And small restaurants will struggle financially. If you’re in the Silver State looking for some grub, you will be required to make a reservation. Walk-in guests cannot be served at least for the next three weeks, per Sisolak’s restrictions.
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