Thousands of revelers are already trying their luck against social distancing by packing the Las Vegas Strip as capacity restrictions begin to ease — with photos showing crowds packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the gambling hotspot.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a “Roadmap to Recovery” ruling Friday that allows casinos to increase capacity from 35 percent to 50 percent as of Monday.
But the news seemed to spark an influx of visitors over the weekend, even before the ruling took effect, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal — which said only masks and social-distancing signs made it clear it was not like any other year.
“I took a few pictures to send to my son in Chicago, and I said, ‘I can’t believe there are this many people out,’” Las Vegas resident Laura Amendala, 55, told the paper.
“I couldn’t even get into the Bellagio parking lot to see the botanical garden. It was filled to capacity.”
Photos on social media also show crowds standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the streets.
The majority appeared to be wearing a face covering, and casino staff were spotted approaching people without one to make sure they covered up, the Review-Journal said.
Still, “It’s scary just because mask compliance is an issue,” Amendala told the outlet.
It came as Nevada health officials on Sunday reported 222 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the state total to 299,287. There was also one more death, with the total now 5,118 known deaths.
Of the new cases, 161 were in Clark County, which includes Vegas. The state has also detected some cases of the highly contagious UK mutation.