You are under an inordinate amount of pressure to open Las Vegas; please don’t do so, yet.
I am a large holder of apartment buildings and motels in Las Vegas. I have an interest in the well being of the citizens of Nevada and its economy.
If you allow casinos to fully reopen, before there is a solution to the Covid-19 virus, it is inevitable that Las Vegas will emerge as a global hub for infection and will cause irrevocable damage to perceptions of this city. To have avoided this outcome thus far has been testament to your decisions.
Our economy is based on tourism and we are the global leaders. In many ways, Nevada is not a State of 3m people, but 50m, including 42m tourists to Las Vegas and 5m to Reno and Tahoe.
Those 47m people that come to this state, our customers, are the most important drivers of this economy. Currently, each one is a potential chemical weapon.
Las Vegas is the last analogue city in a digital age. Guest perceptions are based on emotional responses to their physical interactions. We offer controlled risk, whether that be financial, by offering games of negative expectation, in offering new and different experiences that are not available in their hometowns or by giving permission to behaviors that are not the social norm in other places. Our guests derive pleasure, delight, adventure and most importantly, escapism. To open now, the predominant emotion would be fear.
To open now, even with all the required safety precautions would be folly. Our guests interact with each other, and with us, at every point – in restaurants, playing casino games, at stores, in bars, clubs, shows and convention centers. To ask them to do so in an environment of fear of viral infection, is both dangerous to our workforce, but also destroys the premise of the city’s escapist brand, as without doubt, if our doors open too early, our city will become an inevitable vector for this virus. All it takes is a single, non-symptomatic guest to wreak havoc with our economy for years to come.
I understand the arguments; that the data points to Las Vegas having “peaked” in terms of the virus and the economic pain has already been immense, but as we all know in this town, past data only tells part of the story. The real story is judgement in what “could” happen in the future. It would be a fool’s bet to open the doors too early.
As it stands, like many of those that have suffered from this Covid-19 virus, this city will recover. However, by being naïve and rushing to open our doors, we could be making a fatal decision that we will all regret.