As I sit here contemplating the effects COVID-19 has had on Las Vegas and the broader world impact; it dawned on me that this is the first time that I have seen Vegas “sleep”!
For the second time in its glorious history, Vegas has had to shut its doors. The last time this happened was for the assassination of JFK in 1963.
I have lived here for a few years now, and the noise is defining. In my opinion, Vegas is the city that never sleeps, we all have the luxury to go to a nightclub at 4 AM to party until 10 AM and then stumble into a breakfast buffet to fuel the following pool party that starts in two hours at One Republic. But now, the music has stopped, the lines to get into these types of venues is non-existent, I can comfortably walk the Strip doing cartwheels if my body was able to; there is a defying silence to the famous Las Vegas Blvd.
Before COVID spread across the world like a wild California brush fire, Vegas was thriving! The tourist numbers coming through Mccarran Airport were at an all-time high, Vegas’s was welcoming visitors like there was no tomorrow. With so much excitement growing in the city, 2020 looked to be incredibly promising. Especially when you consider the arrival of the Raiders and their new stadium, the construction of the MGM SPHERE to the Circa Resort on Fremont St to name a few, Vegas was blossoming to dizzying new heights.
But now, the world has seemingly been put on hold without anyone actually knowing for how long or what to do about it?
How long can an economy last for without the wheels turning to drive it forward?
Nevada Resort Association commissioned a report detailing just how much the casino industry will lose. As a result of COVID the numbers are frightening, “Nevada stands to lose $39 billion in the economic output should casinos remain closed for 30 to 60 days and will require 12 to 18 months to recover”, according to the mentioned report.
The numbers are staggering, with Vegas being so heavily reliant on tourism to carry the economy, the next 12 to 18 months could be a very bumpy road.
Yes, some casinos have opened, but they are no way busy, merely the opposite.
Taking a stroll through the Wynn and Encore, where they have manned thermal cameras checking every person coming into the property, they look inferior to their former selves. Like an apple without its core, the heartbeat of these casinos is the thousands of people that come through their doors every single day looking for an experience that no other city can give.
Vegas is the mecca of the ultimate experience. With so much damage caused by an invisible killer, one has to wonder just how long we may have to wait to get back on track to give the millions of tourists what they truly deserve; an experience like no other city can provide!
With many casinos still closed and Las Vegas Blvd offering freedom for jaywalking that hasn’t been available in the last 57 years, I contemplate with some uncertainty at just how long this is going to last for?
I am hoping the leaders we entrust do right for humanity rather than being concerned with the bank balances of the big Corporations.
We the people make every city the heartbeat of our daily commute. Though when we descend on Sin City, like a herd of elephants finding water for the first time in weeks, we turn this place into a haven for every possibility available to man. And without you all, this young and fragile city will continue to sleep some until we change the tide on current events.