Las Vegas Emerges at Snail’s Pace

While the “party city” Las Vegas always filled with non-stop 24-hour action has encountered a mega-bump in the road along with the rest of the country and world, it will rebound and be vibrant once again. This is not the first time the city has had to reinvent itself, which is evident with its amazing history from a dusty railroad town at the turn of the last century to a global beacon of excitement in 2020. 

For now, think of Las Vegas being on a dimmer switch. Don’t expect one grand reopening giant party since crowds are not in vogue at this time. Each resort will roll out its own reboot and changes are certain. 

Caesars Palace has been in the national news explaining some of the resorts upcoming transformations such as only three customers playing at a blackjack table and three on each side of a craps table with onlookers next to players not being allowed. For slots, every other slot machine will be turned off with a seat removed. Employees will wear masks. For some undetermined time, there will be a new normal. The upside is folks will be able to get out and feel live again. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is going with a new ad campaign. Instead of “What happens here,” because the world has changed it will be “A new Vegas for a new reality.”

Restaurants aren’t opening all at once and they will have limited customer capacity and sanitation will be top priority. You will see one-time-use menus at many establishments. It will be interesting to see what happens to the buffets.

Retail, which is always a great therapy, is returning slowly. The open-air malls like Container Park downtown have opened, and attractions should be able to open soon. 

Entertainment will be slow to return. MGM Resorts with 13 Strip resorts previously announced it had cancelled all live entertainment through June. The Bon Jovi concert at T-Mobile Arena scheduled for June 15 has been canceled and the next event at the venue looks to be mid-August. The first major concert at Allegiant Stadium with Garth Brooks is planned for Saturday, Aug. 22; time will tell what happens with this concert. For anything you want to do in Las Vegas, it will be important to check with the source either online, through social media or by phone. Change is going to be a way of life especially for the rest of this year.

In the meantime, businesses are being creative and keeping up an awareness of their brand. Cirque du Soleil with many productions in Las Vegas premiered a one-of-a-kind CirqueConnect 60-minute special this month. The family-friendly program showcasing the best live show moments from the company’s “Crystal” and “Axel” shows and first on ice is remaining available for viewing on the CirqueConnect content hub. 

Ethel M Chocolates started virtual chocolate tastings with the first two being successful. Via Zoom, there will be a Dark Chocolate Lovers Tasting at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5 and the Father’s Day tasting at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 19. Each hour-long livestream tasting is $50, which includes shipping the tasting kit via FedEx with the candy on ice in an insulated cooler bag. 

Donald Contursi, founder of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which courts groups, has launched a sister company: Finger Licking Foodie Tours. When Las Vegas’ restaurants reopen, his new business created during this unexpected downtime will allow food lovers to eat and explore their way through the city with an innovative, private, self-guided, e-assisted culinary tour. Visit his website for information.


Photo Credit: Rachael Heffner

Roy Horn and Mike Fryer

Las Vegas is better for both these men.

Here are two men who made a difference in Las Vegas. Roy Horn, half of the famous Siegfried & Roy partnership, died from the Coronavirus at age 75. His show business legacy helped ensure Las Vegas’ passage to becoming the Entertainment Capital of the World.” Fans can look forward to an authorized biopic telling the life story of Siegfried & Roy, which will continue despite Horn’s passing. The emotional story will cover their life together and how they influenced each other to achieve world-renowned success.

Without Mike Fryer, who lost his battle with cancer, this publication and my column in it would not be possible. He founded and published The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional and later expanded with a sister pub in Southern California. After 30 years developing, operating and owning establishments throughout Southeast Asia, he came to Las Vegas and made a difference. Restaurants and chefs lost their biggest fan and advocate.