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HVS Las Vegas Casino & Hotel Market Outlook 2021 | By Shannon Okada

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy has been extremely harsh given the market's reliance on visitation and conventions. Following five consecutive years of accommodating more than 42 million visitors, Las Vegas hosted just over 19 million people in 2020 (the lowest number of visitors since 18.1 million in 1989). While vaccination rollouts have begun in , measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus remain in place. Continued weak performance is anticipated through the first half of 2021. Thereafter, the recovery of travel and general economic performance is expected to accelerate as vaccines, medical therapies, and public confidence support the beginning of the return to pre-pandemic levels. Fortunately, construction is classified as an essential business in Nevada and has continued throughout the pandemic. New developments will contribute to the eventual recovery of the market.

On March 17, 2020, Nevada's Governor Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of Nevada's nonessential businesses and urged residents to implement social‐distancing measures to reduce spreading the COVID‐19 virus. The Las Vegas economy was devastated in April and May 2020 due to the shutdown of businesses. Governor Sisolak authorized certain businesses, including restaurants, barbershops, hair salons, and most retail businesses, to reopen with limitations beginning May 9, 2020, and Nevada began its emergence from the pandemic shutdown. Nevada's casinos were allowed to reopen on June 4, 2020, with restrictions. The initial guidelines from the (NGCB) for the reopening of casinos included requirements such as reducing casino capacity by 50%, physical distancing at slots and table games, using personal protection equipment (PPE), and cleaning surfaces frequently. On November 22, 2020, Governor Sisolak ordered stricter requirements on mask usage and a rollback on permitted crowd sizes in both public and private settings given the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. Requirements effective November 24, 2020, which remained in place through February 14, 2021, included the following:

Due to declines in the number of active COVID-19 cases and the local positivity rate, changes to restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 were relaxed as of February 15, 2021, and included the following:

Beginning March 15, 2021, businesses operating at 35% capacity will be allowed to move back to 50% capacity, and public gatherings and event limits are expected to be increased to 250 people, or 50% capacity.On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that adds safeguards to international travel and requires masks on planes, ships, and other public transportation. The executive order also requires international travelers to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test before entering the U.S. and follow (CDC) guidelines to quarantine once they arrive. International travelers are asked to stay home at least seven days if they get tested again, or ten days if they do not get tested. The CDC issued an order that took effect on February 1, 2021, requiring travelers to wear a mask on public transportation in the U.S.; specifically, passengers on airplanes, trains, buses, subways, ships, ferries, taxis, and ride-shares must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth from entrance to exit. Additionally, people must wear masks on the premises of transportation hubs such as airports, train and subway stations, bus and ferry terminals, seaports, and ports of entry. Masks must stay on while people await, board, travel, and disembark public transportation. While the new mandates could be the beginning of the return of international travel, the order may have only a minimal impact on Las Vegas visitation or COVID-19 infection rates given that Nevada has enforced public mask usage since June 2020.As of February 21, 2021, Clark County had reported 224,597 COVID-19 cases and 3,798 related deaths, representing the majority of Nevada's total 291,145 cases and 4,882 fatalities. The state's two-week positivity rate, the percentage of people tested who are confirmed to have the disease caused by COVID-19, had decreased from a high of 21.7% on January 13, 2021, to 9.6% as of February 21, 2021.To learn more, click below to request a copy of the full report. This in-depth article examines trends and market developments affecting the Las Vegas hospitality market. If you encounter any issues requesting the report, please contact Lizzette Casarin at .