Permitted occupancy at Nevada casinos – already at 50 per cent due to COVID-19 – will be reduced further, to 25 per cent, governor Steve Sisolak announced yesterday.

Sisolak, speaking from isolation as he recovers from COVID-19, said he would not be ordering a full shutdown but instead a “statewide pause” that will begin at 12:01am, Tuesday, November 24.

The 25 per cent occupancy limit will apply at the state’s casinos, their bars and restaurants, and will be overseen and enforced by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Board’s new chairman Brin Gibson – appointed just two weeks ago – said the state’s regulator will “vigorously enforce” the new restrictions among the state’s licensees.

Suggesting the move could be relatively short-term fix, limited to the three weeks set out by Sisolak, Gibson added: “The more successfully Nevada mitigates the current spread of COVID over the next several weeks, the more likely we are to experience a complete return to current gaming floor occupancy percentages at that point”.

The governor said that, after the three-week period, he will review afresh the COVID-19 infection rates and only then decide whether to extend the 25 per cent limit.

“Our casinos, hotels, restaurants and bars are open with strict restrictions so that we can protect our economy,” Sisolak said.

“Weighing the loss of jobs and businesses versus the loss of health and lives is painful, without a perfect solution.” The move follows news that COVID-19 cases are soaring in the state of Nevada, as highlighted below.

Source: New York Times