A Las Vegas local shares how the city is handling holiday festivities during the pandemic

Dec 24, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A city usually known for bright lights and booming nightlife is a lot quieter this holiday season due to COVID-19. Last year, according to Statistica, Las Vegas welcomed 43 million visitors. But this year, for the start of the holiday season in October, tourism occupancy was down to just under 2 million for the month.

With less tourism and a new convention and visitors bureau motto of “Stay Safe, Stay Open,” you may be wondering what practices Las Vegas has implemented to keep its tourism-dependent economy open for business this holiday season.

Here’s an overview of what safety measures you can expect in Las Vegas for the holidays.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The Venetian Las Vegas at Christmas
The Venetian in Las Vegas at Christmastime. (Photo by oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.com)

In November 2020, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced a statewide “pause” due to rapidly growing COVID-19 numbers and certain restrictions — like a 25% cap on bar and restaurant capacity — will be in effect until at least January 15. But, there are currently no restrictions for travelers entering the state of Nevada.

Related: 9 ways Las Vegas is different in the age of COVID-19

Lower capacity for key holiday attractions

For the holiday season and beyond, visitors can expect lower capacity at popular holiday attractions. Among the most popular are rooftop ice skating at The Cosmopolitan, themed holiday pop-up bars, hotels and resorts on The Strip with fun holiday displays, the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and an “out-of-this-world” experience at the brand-new shopping and dining complex, AREA15, which is two miles off The Strip. At AREA15 you can “hang glide” indoors, attend an immersive sound-and-light show, watch an ax dual, strap into a flight simulator and more.

Open attractions are operating at 25% capacity and the best way to secure a spot is to book in advance if possible. Otherwise, many of the attractions are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Most can be booked either online or by phone, which allows the guest to choose a timeslot and visit when there are fewer people. Other no-fee attractions allow you to wait in a capacity-controlled line. Many hotels and resorts that host holiday-themed displays are operating in the same manner.

Related: 10 things no one tells you about Las Vegas

Lower capacity for dining and hotels

Dining and hotel capacity all over Las Vegas is limited to 25%. In addition, no more than four people may dine together at the same table, and guests must book a reservation for all restaurants.

In addition, amenities at many of the hotels have been limited to only accommodate activities and services that allow for mask-wearing and/or social distancing. Hotel casino floors are also at 25% capacity.

On the upside, guests will notice much stricter cleaning protocols by hotel staff and plexiglass shielding at casino tables, the concierge desk and other public areas. Many hotels and casinos have stations for temperature checks and thermal scanners upon entry and some are providing PPE kits at check-in that include hand sanitizer and masks for the safety of guests.

fewer shows

Las Vegas is known for its world-class entertainment. Unfortunately, there has been a pause in shows and entertainment since April. As of December 2020, shows have just started to reboot with limited seating.

While show openings are still very limited, Vegas.com is a great place to get reliable information about what shows are available for your visit. The same as any other Las Vegas attraction, the best practice is to call or book show tickets as early as possible to secure a spot.

behavior reminders and signage

With the increase of COVID-19 numbers and the implementation of health and safety protocols, there is an increased sense of responsibility for both locals and visitors that we did not see present in the city before.

Everyone is expected to wear face masks in all public areas unless eating or drinking while stationary.

Patrons are expected to remain six feet apart. Guests will frequently find floor markings and labels in public areas of hotels and attractions to help them maintain social distance.

Patrons are also expected to frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizer. There are reminder signs as well as hand sanitizing stations

Guests who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 are expected to adhere to the honor system and quarantine in isolation, as there are no current travel restrictions or test requirements for entering the state.

The good news is that there is still plenty to see and do while remaining socially distant in Las Vegas. Locals will tell that some of the best Las Vegas attractions are located both on and off The Strip.

Here are some top picks from a local’s perspective that allow for social distancing.

The cactus garden with Christmas decorations at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory. (Photo by Kit Leong/Shutterstock.com)
  • Linq High Roller: Take a ride on the world’s tallest observation wheel at 550 feet tall. This ride allows modified spacing of groups in individual pods.
  • Glittering lights at The Las Vegas Speedway: This North Las Vegas attraction allows you to view Christmas lights from inside your vehicle.
  • Ice skating in Downtown Summerlin: This ice-skating attraction is lesser known than the rooftop ice skating at The Cosmopolitan, which means fewer crowds. Also, it’s an outdoor activity.
  • Christmas shopping: The Las Vegas Premium Outlets North, Downtown Summerlin and The District at Green Valley ranch are all open-air.
  • Cactus Garden at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory: View more than a 500,000 Christmas lights and holiday displays outside.
  • Linq Promenade: Explore the Linq promenade holiday decorations and its live-music scene.

Featured image by Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock.com

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.