I had an opportunity to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada recently and what I experienced was drastically different from the carefree trips to Vegas I had taken in the past. I was working on a horse ranch in Arizona for the summer, and we had to make a run to Vegas to pick up a truck. I spent a total of 48 hours in Sin City, and here is what Vegas life during COVID times looks like.
Suncoast Hotel & Casino
We stayed at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino, thanks to a dear friend of Janet and Ian’s. This hotel happens to be off the strip and is frequented by locals. The changes for COVID that you will see in most of the casinos are that you will have your temperature taken before you can go on the casino floor. All of the table games have plexiglass partitions between every seat and the dealer. And you cannot sit down until the area is cleaned after someone vacates a seat. In the hotels, there is no longer a daily maid service for the rooms now. Rooms are cleaned once you are finished with your stay, and elevators have marks on the floor for where you should stand.
Masks are required to be worn. The only time you can take them off is when you are eating, drinking, or smoking. At the pool area, the only time you can remove your mask is when you are entirely in the water. The hot tub area was closed. It is challenging to wear a mask all day, especially when it is hot and humid, but not impossible. Even with all of these restrictions and rules, people are still coming out and gambling their evenings away.
While we were staying at the hotel, we tried a couple of their restaurants. The first one was 90 Ninety Bar & Grill. We opted to sit outside on the terrace instead of indoors. Social distancing is being practiced along with mask-wearing (except when sitting to eat). It was hard to hear each other as they were piping out loud music to the terrace, and we were seated right under the speaker. After being in a car for almost eight hours, anything would taste good. 90 Ninety delivered on deliciousness. Our dinner was served hot, and it tasted fabulous. After eating dinner, the only energy I had left was used up to get me to my room and crash out on my bed.
The next day we had lunch at Du-pars Restaurant and Bakery. Their baked goods looked fabulous. Who wouldn’t love a cinnamon roll 6-inches high? Or stacks of all you can eat thick and fluffy pancakes? I tried the BLT sandwich and thoroughly enjoyed my bacon, bacon, and more bacon sandwich.
Summerlin is a residential community next to the Las Vegas strip. You can see the strip from many of the houses as they are built on the hills in Clark County. This community is where we had to pick up the truck from their friend, Dali. It was nice to be in an area surrounded by people that are strong advocates of wearing masks. As we were visiting, we wore masks the entire time inside her house. This area of Vegas seems to be a splendid area to live. The people are friendly, the homes are well maintained, plenty of amenities for the residents of Summerlin, and many of them roll around the neighborhoods in golf carts. I love that perk!
We took a cruise down the strip on Saturday night. What I remember when I was last in Vegas was wall to wall people walking along the sidewalks. You had to pay attention because people would stop right in front of you to look up or take a picture of something. This time we stayed in the car and looked at everything from the safety of inside the vehicle. There were a lot fewer people, but there were still too many without wearing masks for me to be comfortable. As we were driving around with our local guide, Dali, told us that a bunch more casinos would have to close (lockdown) again, and even more, were closing their doors forever due to COVID. Rio was one of the casinos that wouldn’t come back. It is heartbreaking seeing all of these businesses around the country having to shutter their doors forever.
Ping Pang Pong is one of the best restaurants that I have been to in Vegas. Located in the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino, we walked in, got our temperature taken, and headed right to the restaurant. There was only a short wait before we were led to our table in the center of the restaurant. We were hungry, so we ordered a bunch of different dishes to share among our small group. The food was served quickly, and we dove right into plates of chicken, beef, pork, clams, and even jellyfish. Our bellies were full and satisfied and ready for one more night’s sleep before we had to drive back to Arizona the next day.
As we head out, Dali mentioned for us to try The Bagel Cafe. We stroll into the building and instantly had to wait in a line that was almost out the door. The line went around the bakery, and you could order your items and then pick them up at the cashier. Masks were required, and they took your temperature when you entered. You were not allowed to wait by the cashier, you had to step aside until they called your name, and social distancing was practiced everywhere. I ordered a bagel, and then while I was waiting, I added a muffin. Everything looked delicious, but I had to show some restraint. At least a little bit. If you had all of these options, what would you choose?
Taking a trip to Sin City has always been a fun holiday. It can still be fun, although things have changed drastically this year. Be prepared for waiting in lines to get a seat at a restaurant due to limited seating. Bring your patience and willingness to adapt as restaurants or places could be closed at a moment’s notice, or there could be a reduction in menu options. And most importantly, bring your mask. I would bring several different masks as it does get humid and sweaty wearing a mask all day. You might have to change them out periodically throughout the day. If you don’t want to travel right now, that is perfectly fine as well—no judgment either way from me. I just wanted to give you guys a heads up on what to expect on your next trip and how much change has happened to Vegas Life during COVID times. Be safe out there!
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