By JOSH RESNEK
The casino business everywhere remains chained to the pandemic with severe indoor crowd restrictions in play here in Massachusetts and throughout the nation.
In Las Vega, the epicenter of casino gaming in America, the state government has just allowed casinos to increase their indoor capacity numbers by ten percent from 25% to 35%.
Entertainment venues remain problematic.
Conventions, one of the staples of casinos and hotels remains out of business and will likely be that way for some months to come.
In fact, in Las Vegas, at the Wynn Resorts Encore hotel and casino, the convention area has been fit out as a vaccination center for Nevadans.
Encore Hotel in Las Vegas remains closed during the week and open on weekends.
Crowds, as they used to be on the Strip, are non-existent in the current pandemic environment.
Encore in Everett is in the same condition, with an abbreviated hotel opening schedule on the weekends only and severe crowd restrictions for inside gaming at the casino.
In Massachusetts, the hours of operation have changed to 24/7 but not the crowd restrictions.
Crowd restrictions remain under the aegis of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the State Department of Public Health.
Both follow science in their decision-making process.
While the top of the epidemic appears to have been reached, with huge numbers in January now coming down halfway into February, it is expected in time that some restrictions will ultimately be lessened.
Hastening that belief are the number of vaccinations happening daily in Massachusetts.
In Nevada in May, the governor is hoping to direct all mitigation management efforts to local governments.
Right now, as in Massachusetts, specific statewide protocols will remain in place to mitigate the spread, including but not limited to the mask mandate and other social distancing requirements.
In Massachusetts, hospitalizations and deaths are down but the virus is a persistent enemy.
At 25% capacity, the state believes Encore in Everett is safe with that restriction in place.
When a large part of the population in Massachusetts and the nation have been vaccinated – if that time comes to pass – it is believed restrictions will be dropped, though not entirely, until the virus is finally under control and near to being wiped out.