Already struggling to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic that shut operations for four months, Las Vegas casinos are now facing a new threat. Nevada is imposing new rules that will limit maximum occupancy to just 25% of capacity, down from the 50% that was previously permitted.
As with prior restraints imposed at the outset of the crisis, some businesses will get a pass, such as grocery stores being allowed to maintain 50% capacity limits. Other venues like restaurants, bars, and gyms will need to comply with the new restrictions.
Thankful to still be open
Casino operators including Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) will need to comply with the new regulations for three weeks after they take effect beginning Tuesday.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is also limiting public gatherings to no more than 50 people, or 25% capacity, whichever is less, while private gatherings are limited to just 10 people and masks are mandated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called for families to not travel for Thanksgiving, and several states have imposed similar limitations on the size and makeup of private gatherings.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, for example, just issued an executive order limiting private gatherings to 10 people, and public gatherings to 150, but he is getting resistance from police chiefs who say they won't enforce the order on private Thanksgiving dinners.
New Jersey's casino operators face additional restrictions, including curfews on dining after 10 p.m. MGM Resorts International's (NYSE:MGM) Borgata casino is laying off over 400 employees as a result after firing 18,000 Las Vegas employees in August.
Nevada's unemployment rate of over 13% is the second-highest in the country behind Hawaii. The rate had soared to more than 30% after the first restrictions were imposed in March.