Nevada casinos ease coronavirus capacity restrictions Monday

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Nevada casinos began easing capacity restrictions Monday as the nation continues to ramp up coronavirus vaccination efforts.

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The indoor capacity limit for gaming floors as well as food and beverage establishments jumped from 25% to 35%, according to Nevada's "Roadmap to Recovery" reopening plan.

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However, businesses and activities that are deemed "high risk" — such as adult entertainment establishments, nightclubs and day clubs — will remain closed through at least May 1, according to Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Last week, Sisolak announced that the state would be rolling back on some coronavirus-related restrictions, including limiting the number of people inside casinos. The announcement came as the state continues to increase its vaccination efforts "through an efficient and equitable approach," the governor said.

The move may help lure more in out-of-state visitors — the lifeblood of Nevada’s limping economy — to come and spend money in Las Vegas.

"As we continue navigating this pandemic and ramping up our vaccination efforts, this plan will focus on how we can continue mitigating the spread while getting Nevadans back to work, protecting and recovering our economy, and getting our students back to in-person learning," Sisolak said.

By May, the governor hopes to direct all mitigation management efforts to local governments. However, "specific statewide protocols will remain in place to mitigate the spread, including but not limited to the mask mandate and other social distancing requirements," Sisolak tweeted.

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Nevada’s tourism and hospitality industry has an estimated $67.6 billion economic impact, employing more workers and bringing in more state tax revenue than any other sector.

However, in November a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the state had the highest unemployment rate, about 11.5%, among big metropolitan areas nationwide.

As of December, Nevada has been facing a 9.2% unemployment rate, according to the labor bureau.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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