LAS VEGAS: Las Vegas is not canceling or scaling back plans for large New Year gatherings amid concerns about the rapid spread of the Omicron version of COVID-19, regional public safety and elected leaders said on Wednesday.
The city is expected to draw more than 300,000 visitors for events including the New Year’s Eve fireworks show on the Las Vegas Strip, which was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of ticketholders are also expected at a multi-stage outdoor concert under a canopy light show at the downtown casino pedestrian mall called the Fremont Street Experience.
If you are sick, stay at home. If you’re indoors, wear a mask, said Michael Knaft, a Clark County commissioner who stood by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and police, fire and communications center officers, glass and metal containers, coolers, strollers. To outline restrictions, including restrictions on backpacks, purses. and stuff.
“We encourage everyone to look out for each other, take personal responsibility and take consistent action to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Naft said.
Talk of safety came on a day when a coronavirus driven largely by the highly infectious Omicron variant pushed new cases of COVID-19 in the US to the highest level on record, averaging more than 265,000 per day. The previous mark was 250,000 cases per day last January, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Paris, London, Berlin and New York are among cities that have withdrawn or called off New Year’s festivities, and airlines have canceled thousands of flights amid staff shortages attributed to the virus.
Chicago officials said their fireworks show was still on this week, after Illinois Gov. JB Pritzkers warned during a news conference that O’Micron and Delta were coming to your party.
In Las Vegas, regional health officials reported 2,201 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the biggest increase in a single day since last January 11 and 15 new deaths. New cases and deaths are rising, and there has been a jump in the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Clark County.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the county’s 14-day test positivity rate, representing the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 and found positive, reached 10.1%. The World Health Organization’s target for easing mitigation measures is 5% or less.
The Southern Nevada Health District reported that 68.2% of Las Vegas area residents have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 55.8% have been fully vaccinated.
Goodman, an outspoken critic of the Nevada mask mandate and restrictions on crowd size in the first months after business closures in March 2020, wore a mask on Wednesday, but removed it to remind the media that Las Vegas’ biggest events Will be out
We are saying that people can feel comfortable going mask-free, the mayor said. But personally, if you have a problem or are concerned, wear your mask. It is a question of respect.
Last year, even though the fireworks were cancelled, thousands of fun-loving still gathered on casino-lined Las Vegas Boulevard to ring in 2021.
This year, the National Weather Service predicts a chilly Friday night, with temperatures near freezing on the strip under mostly clear skies and winds that aren’t expected to stop the fireworks.
The eight-minute choreographed pyrotechnic display will be shot from atop eight resort properties bracketed by the Strait Tower and the MGM Grand Hotel, with the soundtrack broadcast to two FM radio stations in Las Vegas.
Clark County Undersheriff Christopher Darcy applies lessons learned about police, fire, ambulance and communications cooperation as a lone shooter fired 10 minutes of gunfire into a Las Vegas Strip concert crowd from an upscale hotel in October 2017. Sixty-eight people died that night, and hundreds were injured. At least two other deaths were later attributed to the mass shooting, which remains the deadliest in modern American history.
Darcy said about 1,200 police officers would be employed in the Las Vegas Boulevard area, where roads would remain closed and thousands of security guards in hotels. Several hundred officers would be assigned to the Fremont Street District.
The curfew requires any person under the age of 18 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian in both areas.
“We encourage people to take the proper precautions, be vaccinated or wear face coverings and do whatever you can to protect yourself,” the police officer said.
He said that those having fun should arrange for transport which does not involve driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Wear warm clothing and comfortable shoes, said Deputy Clark County Fire Chief Warren Whitney. Stay hydrated, and be prepared to walk a lot.
Fireworks are visible on the Strip and around the Las Vegas Valley, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said in a statement.
We encourage fun-lovers to take appropriate health and safety precautions before their arrival and follow the indoor mask mandate when they are in Las Vegas and if they are feeling unwell, the statement said. If so, seek medical attention.