(UPDATE: Mask were required when indoors again from July 30th, 2021 – February 10, 2022. The mask mandate is no longer in effect)
Vegas is back. Kind of.
The cab driver on my way from the airport said that Vegas was back. And on the surface, that’s believable. There are a lot of people on the Strip. Shows are reopening and most restaurants and clubs are open. The airport is crowded. That’s about as far as it goes. Even though the airport was busy, they have only 1 taxi line open and there wasn’t much of a wait when I landed.
Many restaurants have reopened, but not all of them. The ones that are open tend to require reservations. The lineup I saw waiting to get in to Catch at Aria right when they opened was comical. I considered going to the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars, but all reservations were sold out for the duration of my last trip. Late night dining options are very limited (and you can expect long lines at the ones that are). It seems like more restaurants are reopening each week, though (like Fleur at Mandalay Bay reopening July 26th).
As a general rule, masks are not required if you are vaccinated.
If everyone is being honest, it looks like over 90% of the people in Las Vegas are vaccinated. I don’t believe that, though. I did get a few looks for wearing mine. Most staff members wore masks, but not all of them. I am guessing that some vaccinated staff may not be required to wear masks. I wasn’t happy that the Cosmo room service person came right into my room without a masks, though.
Many things are changing as casinos reopen during the COVID pandemic. The most important change right now is that you are going to need to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever you are inside a public area of the building. That means you need to be wearing it when in the casino, in the lobby, walking down the hotel hallway, in a public bathroom, at bars and restaurants, etc. That is a statewide mandate from Gov. Sisolak. The mandate also include public spaces outdoors where six feet of social distancing can be observed. That means you should wear it whenever you head out since you can’t guarantee that you’ll have six feet of space when walking down the Strip or on Fremont Street. The mandate goes a step further than what MGM and Caesars had already put into place require mask use, but only in a few areas.
There are limited exceptions for children 9 and under, individuals where wearing a mask would be a health or safety risk, when dining and drinking and when exercising or doing socially distanced recreational activities outside.
The new mask mandate actually simplifies a number of things. As a general rule, if you are staying at a resort you should be wearing a masks unless you are in your room with family.
It has been difficult for me to write about Las Vegas recently. I promised some more posts about the COVID reopenings and I hope to make progress on that soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my Las Vegas favorites (and places I hope we will be able to visit again soon) in an effort to get the writing flowing again.
Upscale: Bavette’s Steakhouse at Park MGM. When you step inside, you forget that the casino is right outside the door. The food, drinks and service are great (like many of the upscale restaurants), but what makes Bavette’s my favorite is the hidden back bar / back room. It is quieter and makes you feel like you are in a secret, special place.
Catch at Aria and Fleur at Mandalay Bay are both close seconds. The theming at Catch is over the top. Check out the entryway even if you don’t want to go all the way in for some great seafood. I’m big fan of Hubert Keller, so Fleur is a regular stop for me when I’m at that end of the Strip.
The beginning of the year is the best time to get the new edition of a few of my favorite guide/resource books.
The American Casino Guide has information about casinos across the United States as well as guidance on how to play many casino games. The big draw for this guide, though, is the coupon section. At the beginning of January, I was able to turn The D $25 Matchplay and Push Your Bet on 22 into a $50 profit, more than covering the price of the book. Those coupons are also the reason many people like myself buy the book year after year. Here is the 2019 coupon list.
Eating Las Vegas is another handy resource. The in-depth reviews and commentary are for higher end restaurants, but it has info on more accessible restaurants, too. They also include some good tips for having the best dining experience whether you are dining solo or with a group. Most of the reviews are Strip-based, but there are local options, too.
I’ve been playing and writing about myVEGAS since it started. It has evolved a lot over the years. While I have discussed many aspects of it, some of that info is only in the comments or is spread across multiple posts. This is my attempt at sharing as much as possible in one post (with links to a few existing posts with more detail).
What is myVEGAS?
myVEGAS is a family of games produced by PLAYSTUDIOS. The games currently include myVEGAS and myKonamiSlots on Facebook as well as myVEGAS Slots, MyKonamiSlots, PopSlots and myVEGAS Blackjack for Android and iOS devices. All of these games are linked through Facebook and you need a Facebook account in order to earn Rewards.