How the Coronavirus Is Changing Las Vegas

The city is particularly susceptible to the dangers of COVID-19

Las Vegas
How is Las Vegas coping with the coronavirus?
Thomas Wolf/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / March 23, 2020 6:00 am

What happens the bulk of an entire city’s economy is built around the kind of events and spaces that concerns over COVID-19 have temporarily shuttered? Las Vegas abounds with casinos, concert venues and sporting events; and right now, Las Vegas is the quietest it’s been in years.

At The Washington Post, Robert Klemko explored how COVID-19 has affected Las Vegas this year, and what it might mean for the city’s future. It abounds with scenes of just how the state barring large gatherings has affected businesses — including a surreal moment in the life of Emerald Island Casino owner Tim Brooks.

Late last week, it dawned on Brooks that the front door of his 24-hour casino hadn’t been locked since he opened the place 18 years ago. Where on earth are the keys? Anticipating a shutdown, Brooks called a locksmith on Monday and had a new lock installed.

While the current coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact ion many cities, including Seattle and New York, its impact might be even greater in a certain region of Nevada.

Las Vegas is a particularly worrying space regarding COVID-19 transmission, Klemko writes. Why? Because much of the casino business involves “people [handling] chips, cash, cards, slot machines and touch screens, all in proximity to one another.”

All of this leaves Las Vegas in a similar place as other cities where people have lost work as a result of the pandemic — but with potentially more severe consequences regarding its future. It’s a sobering perspective on a place often associated with delirium — and one which will hopefully make its comeback soon.

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