Nevada Receives a COVID-19 Reprieve

Kathy Monte, Senior News Editor
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LAS VEGASOn Tuesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that effective October 1, he is raising the limit on public gatherings from 50 to 250 people — and even higher for some of the state’s largest venues.

“We are thankful Gov. Sisolak relaxed the restrictions on conferences and conventions in Nevada. We applaud him for being so transparent with conference organizers that this is just the first step as we simultaneously allow for larger meetings and assure that Las Vegas is not only the best city to gather in, but also the safest,” Michael Massari, Chief Sales Officer at Caesars Entertainment, said.

“The industry-wide health and safety protocols in place by Nevada Safe, signed by over 40 properties in Nevada, and the protocols put forth by individual properties, are the best in the world,” he added.

These relaxed rules come as a result of declines in the state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate and hospitalizations following a summer peak. Conventions, sporting events with live audiences, and large church gatherings will be allowed to meet once again with restrictions.

“This news is a great first step for our local meeting and convention industries,” said Steve Hill, CEO and President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “We encourage everyone who visits, works, or lives in Las Vegas to continue taking all the necessary safety and health precautions to allow us to quickly and fully reopen the destination.”

Due to the increased chance of co-mingling with other attendees compared to other events, the new directive has set a 1,000-person capacity limit on trade shows, conventions, and conferences. Conventions may accommodate up to 250 people without approval, but will require approval for events of between 250 and 1,000 attendees.

Under the new guidelines, venues that hold up to 2,500 people will be allowed to accommodate 250 people or 50 percent of thevenue’s capacity, whichever is fewer, with a limit of 1,000 per group — not including staff or talent.

“This increase to the number of people allowed to gather is a step in the right direction for the destination, and an important development as we look to bring trade shows, sports, and other events back to Las Vegas,” said John Schreiber, Vice President of Business Sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “We’re committed to setting the gold standard for the industry by bringing meetings back safely and responsibly. The entire destination is taking a thoughtful and measured approach in order to deliver on our promise of a world-class business experience.”

Although the governor has raised the limit on gatherings, there are restrictions. Attendees must stay in their seats during the event with no standing room permitted; seats do not need to be assigned or reserved in advance.

The limit also only applies to individual rooms, so a group could split out its breakout rooms as long as each room individually meets the 250-person or 50% limit, whichever applies.

These revised guidelines will also accommodate groups of more than 250 people, as long as the group size does not exceed 10% of total capacity. For example, a sports venue that accommodates 20,000 attendees would be allowed to welcome 2,000 people; however, the attendees would need to be divided into at least four sections of no more than 500 people each.

Related. Las Vegas is Back!

Jaki Baskow, CEO and Founder  of Baskow Talent and Las Vegas Speakers Bureau, said the number of inquiries and bookings for speakers and entertainment for 2021 trade shows in Las Vegas is on the rise. “During the COVID-19 shutdown, I booked many virtual speakers for online trade shows, but let’s be honest, this forum certainly doesn’t replace in-person interactions. Trade shows and Las Vegas go hand in hand, and it has been a ghost town without them. Now that our governor has lifted the meeting restrictions, it’s time for trade shows to come back to the city where they belong.”

For additional information and resources regarding the state’s updated guidance for safe gatherings go to: nvhealthresponse.nv.gov.

Visit the LVCVA’s citywide Meet Smart, Vegas Smart campaign to encourage a responsible return to business.

Reach Steve Hill at shill@lvcva.com; John Schreiber at (702) 892-2826; Jaki Baskow at jaki@jakibaskow.com; and Michael Massari at mmassari@caesars.com.