LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed an emergency order adjusting the minimum distance between performers and audience members that previously challenged the return of productions in Las Vegas.
The tourist destination built for excess and known for bright lights, big crowds, indulgent meals and headline shows has slowly begun to reopen after the pandemic halted business in March. Businesses, especially on the Strip were struggling because of limited air travel, lack of mid-week convention business and an absence of arena events and entertainment options.
Previously, performers were required to maintain 25 feet (7.6 meters) of space between the audience as a precaution against the coronavirus. But some smaller venues could not accommodate that restriction.
Sisolak signed the new emergency directive on Friday, updating the minimum distance to 6 feet (1.8 meters) if performers are wearing masks and 12 feet (3.6 meters) when performers are unmasked.
The order is effective immediately and applies to all live entertainment and performances at all sizes of public gatherings and events.
“This is amazing news,” said Angela Stabile, co-founder of Stabile Productions, Inc., which has been operating three different shows at Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. “It was an extreme guideline to begin with. This is another step in the right direction.”
Other shows including “The Australian Bee Gees Show” at Excalibur Hotel & Casino, David Copperfield at MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and Terry Fator at New York-New York Hotel & Casino were planning to resume performances this month, the Las Vegas Sun reported. Now, smaller venue productions are also planning to reopen because of the new guidelines.
Nevada on Saturday reported 500 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths, raising the state's pandemic totals to 295,960 cases and 5,036 deaths.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.