Thursday, June 30 2022

LAS VEGAS – Hours before 14,000 people were expected at Fremont Street Experience downtown to celebrate New Years, the four-poster casino and mall restricted access to hotel guests and promised refunds ticket holders who are now unable to attend.

“The restricted access decision was taken in excess of caution to protect the health and safety of our guests, employees and the community,” Fremont Street Experience officials said in a statement Thursday morning.

The announcement comes days after Nevada health officials raised concerns that the rally could be a super-spreading event that invades hospitals as the number of COVID-19 cases rises to records.

The restrictions go into effect Thursdays at 6 p.m. and expire at 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day. During this period, only hotel guests with a wristband will be admitted.

Nevada’s COVID-19 response director Caleb Cage on Tuesday said plans for the annual Fremont Street Experience event could hamper the state’s ability to contain the virus amid the continued surge hospitalizations.

“It seems terribly like the city has worked very hard to get around the spirit and the letter of the guidelines as they are written to protect us,” he said.

Guests who have already paid a $ 25 security fee to participate will receive a full refund.

“Additionally,” a statement read, “Fremont Street Experience will offer these guests a free ride on the SlotZilla zipline for their inconvenience.”

Las Vegas has long been a choice for visitors planning New Years’ getaways, but the COVID-19 pandemic has essentially transformed it from a global destination to a regional gaming hub dependent on drive-in activities. Casinos have been downsized, hours of operation have shrunk – and the fireworks are gone.

But as COVID-19 cases increase statewide, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak would rather people stay home.

Wednesday, Sisolak asked the Nevadans to “get off” and stay indoors to stem the spread, as it will take months for a vaccine to become widely available to the public.

“Please stay home if you can – especially if you are feeling sick,” Sisolak said. “COVID-19 is not going to take overnight to bring in the New Year.”

Contribution: Associated Press.

Ed komenda written on Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? So support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.

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