The Rio Convention Center will transform into a COVID-19 vaccination site in the weeks leading up to the WSOP. In less than 80 days, the vaccine tables will be replaced with hundreds of poker tables as the poker community begins to prepare for the greatest spectacle in the game.
Vaccines available in Las Vegas
Caesars Entertainment, which owns the Rio and the WSOP, sent out a public memo announcing the decision. In the coming weeks, Monday to Friday, vaccines will be available for Caesars employees and family members, along with hotel guests.
“Tomorrow we reopen the COVID vaccination clinic in partnership with Albertsons. Team Members, their family and friends, our hotel guests and the general public can receive their first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Monday – Friday,” the Caesars Entertainment tweet read.
The shot administered, per the company memo, will be Pfizer, considered to have the highest efficacy rate (approximately 95%) among the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. Dozens of tables are set up, spaced properly for social distancing, inside the Rio Convention Center’s Pavilion room, the space used for cash games and daily Deepstack tournaments during the World Series of Poker.
Those who need the first or second Pfizer shot can get one for free at the Rio, and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments are unnecessary. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, spread out over a three-week period, to get maximum immunity from the coronavirus.
Vaccines today, poker tomorrow
On September 30, the Rio Convention Center will go from vaccine site to the home of the 2021 World Series of Poker, the first time the event has taken place in Las Vegas since summer 2019.
But before the WSOP begins, Nevada must get its COVID-19 problem under control, or there could be some issues. The Delta variant, which medical experts claim is higher than 50% more contagious than previous variants, has now become prevalent in the Silver State and is representing 80% of recent COVID-19 positive tests.
Due to the increased spread of the Delta variant, possible pandemic restrictions could be in the works in Las Vegas and statewide. In nearby Los Angeles, California Governor Gavin Newsom brought back the face mask requirement indoors. If the virus continues to spread uncontrollably in Nevada, COVID-19 restrictions could return in Las Vegas, which could have an impact on the 2021 World Series of Poker.
For the time being, however, play is scheduled to run September 30 to November 23, with no face coverings or social distancing required.
Featured image source: Twitter