As a tourist-driven destination, Las Vegas is being hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevada’s governor ordered a state-wide shutdown of non-essential businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and casinos, until at least the end of April. That effectively turned the Strip into a ghost town and put thousands in service jobs out of work.
How soon will Las Vegas return to normal?
How soon Las Vegas returns to normal depends on how effectively the nation can “flatten the curve” and overcome the coronavirus. All indications show Nevada has been one of the more successful states in encouraging people to remain at home and practice social distancing. However, lifting orders to stay indoors could be catastrophic if the COVID-19 outbreak isn’t contained nationwide. Some Vegas hotels are accepting bookings for May and beyond. Some shows on the Strip have been told to expect mid-May reopenings. Yet this is all speculative and optimistic at best. Vegas could remain effectively closed until early summer if not longer.
How will Las Vegas be affected in the long run?
The Vegas economy will feel the effects long after COVID-19 goes away. The stock market recently suffered its worst quarter in history and in an economic slowdown, fewer people will travel to destinations like Las Vegas. Those who do visit may not spend as much on dining and entertainment. If the crisis leads to a recession (which appears likely), virtually every person in Las Vegas will be affected. The city was one of the hardest hit by the Great Recession of 2008 and took longer than others to recover.
If so, expect nightclubs, pool parties, and concerts to face a drop in attendance and/or reduce events altogether. An economic slowdown could threaten projects currently under construction (like Resorts World or the MSG Sphere) and prompt resort companies like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International to tighten up spending and trim operations. On the other hand, bargain hunters might be able to take advantage of low hotel rates and other discounts.
Should I still book a trip to Las Vegas?
If you are planning to visit Las Vegas in 2020, making plans later in the year is still a relatively safe bet. Most airlines are waiving change/cancellation fees for as long as the coronavirus crisis continues. Check with an airline for up-to-date details before booking a flight. Southwest has long had a permanent no-fee policy for changing flights. When resorts reopen, you’ll likely be able to take advantage of widespread discounts and upgrades. Travel insurance is always an option to cover unexpected expenses and cancellations.
What Las Vegas events have been canceled or postponed due to coronavirus fears?
The COVID-19 outbreak hit the Vegas economy fast and hard. March saw a wave of business conferences and trade shows canceled, including CinemaCon and the National Association of Broadcasters Show. Concerts and sports followed suit. As hotels and casinos closed, Strip productions and residencies went on hiatus. New residencies by Kelly Clarkson and the Jonas Brothers were forced to cancel or postpone. All things eventually pass, and Las Vegas will emerge from the crisis stronger than ever. How long it takes is unknown at this point. Some closures may turn out to be permanent. Continue to follow Lavish Vegas for the latest on what’s open, what’s new and what’s happening as developments change by the day.