Thursday, July 2, 2020 / by Ken Couture
Las Vegas is planning a quieter Fourth of July celebration. You won’t see fireworks on the Strip, but the Plaza Hotel-Casino in the downtown area will light up the night sky starting at 10 p.m. Saturday.
Visitors can watch from the start of the Fremont Street Experience, where two blocks of Main Street will be closed to vehicles from 9:45 to 10:45 p.m. to allow for social distancing. Other fireworks displays will begin at 9 p.m. Saturday at the M Resort on Las Vegas Boulevard, about 11 miles south of Mandalay Bay; Red Rock Resort in the northwest part of Las Vegas; and Green Valley Ranch in suburban Henderson.
Still, visitors should know that Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada are under a mandatory mask policy for everyone, except when in private homes. That means wearing a face covering in casinos, resorts and other public areas. The order followed a sharp rise in the number of people infected with the coronavirus.
In recent days, COVID-19 cases have spiked in Clark County, in which Las Vegas is located. Monday’s report from the Southern Nevada Health District showed 697 new cases and four additional deaths. Those figures brought the county’s total to 14,607 cases, with 414 deaths. Clark County has roughly 2.2 million residents.
Also, stay-home orders remain in place in California during the coronavirus pandemic. Right now residents are asked to delay vacation travel that takes them away from home. However, Southern Californians may plan a future getaway in Vegas and elsewhere.
These places are set to reopen in time for this weekend:
Aria, Delano, Mandalay Bay and Waldorf Astoria will start welcoming guests Wednesday. This brings to 23 the number of reopened resorts on the Strip. At Aria, Catch, Jean Georges Steakhouse and Salt & Ivy are open too.
At Mandalay Bay, Shark Reef Aquarium and several bars and restaurants have reopened. At Waldorf Astoria, guests can dine at Zen Kitchen and enjoy drinks, small bites and amazing views of the Strip from SkyBar on the 23rd floor.
The Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas and the Fly Linq at Linq Promenade will send visitors soaring starting Thursday.
Two popular day clubs — Liquid Pool Lounge at Aria and Wet Republic Ultra Pool at MGM Grand — will reopen Thursday too. They’ll be open Thursdays to Sundays, and reservations are required.
Here’s what’s already open:
· Luxor and the adjoining Shoppes at Mandalay Place. At Luxor, the HyperX Esports Arena for high-tech gamers is open, along with a handful of bars and restaurants, including Diablo’s Cantina and Pyramid Café.
At the Shoppes, the popular Minus5 Ice Experience provides the chill as Vegas temperatures rise to triple digits. It’s located on a skywalk linking Luxor and Mandalay Bay. Several other bars and restaurants also have reopened.
· Paris and Westgate hotel-casinos reopened as the city regains its big resorts. Paris opened its hotel, casino and pool as well as dining options such as Gordon Ramsay Steak and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, with stunning views of the Fountains of Bellagio across the street.
· The Buffet at Wynn returned, but can you still call it a buffet? Diners are still seated in the same prepandemic elegant dining area, but the long steam tables full of food have disappeared. Instead of standing in line, plate in hand, diners never have to leave their tables to savor dozens of different dishes. They simply order from a menu featuring photos and descriptions of roughly 90 offerings, including double-cut lamb chops with truffle spinach and crispy onions, Old Bay braised shrimp and scallops with a spicy tomato compote, and steak and lobster in a Béarnaise sauce. It’s still “all you can eat,” but there’s a two-hour time limit. The Buffet, the first to reopen on the Strip, is open daily. Prices range from $36.99 for a weekday brunch to $65.99 for weekend dinner. Reservations are required.
· The new restaurant Elio at Wynn opened for a summer preview. Guests can choose from contemporary Mexican dishes by executive chef Sarah Thompson. The restaurant is open starting 5:30 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays.
· Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, located lakeside at Bellagio, reopened, serving dinner from 5 to10 p.m. The restaurant will be open Friday to Tuesday.
· The Sahara introduced reservations for its baccarat, blackjack and roulette games. With space at gaming tables limited because of social distancing, guests can book a seat up to 72 hours in advance. Otherwise, they may wind up standing around waiting for a seat to open up.
· Oscar’s Steakhouse, named for Vegas’ former mayor, reopened for dinner from Thursday to Sunday. The restaurant, under a glass dome at downtown’s Plaza Hotel & Casino, provides great views of the Fremont Street Experience.
· Topgolf, a popular attraction themed around golf and other sports at MGM Grand, opened its doors too.
· The Cosmopolitan’s adults-only Marquee pool is open 11 a.m. until sunset Fridays to Sundays, with resident DJs and plenty of food and drink. Reservations are required.
· Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood: About half of the mile-long mall’s 200 shops, restaurants and attractions have partly reopened with limited hours (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.). The adjoining Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino remains closed.
· Excalibur: Inside the castle walls, guests can enjoy gaming, a limited number of bars and restaurants, the pool complex, fitness center and Fun Dungeon Arcade.
· Caesars Palace: The hotel-casino reopened. Now the sprawling Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis, complete with a swim-up gaming area, has reopened too. So, too, has the resort’s race and sports book, and Restaurant Guy Savoy
· The Linq: The hotel remains closed but the casino will be up and running, as will several bars and restaurants. For dining options, Hash House A Go Go is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. Influence, the resort’s pool, will start welcoming guests 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The High Roller Ferris wheel at the Linq Promenade is open with a limit of 10 passengers per cabin to allow for social distancing. (Before the mid-March shutdown, it was 40.)
· Big Elvis, a.k.a. Pete Vallee, is the first performer to return to Harrah’s. The act that has been a Vegas stalwart for years returns at 2, 3:30 and 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Harrah’s Piano Bar — and it’s free. Major headlining shows, for the most part, have been canceled for the near future.
· Kenny Davidsen’s Celebrity Piano Bar: The bar a few blocks east of the Strip along Flamingo Road has relaunched at the Tuscany hotel-casino. In this pandemic era, the lounge has a wall of plexiglass that separates audience members from the stage. Shows start at 8:45 p.m. on Fridays.
· Caesars Palace, the Flamingo and Harrah’s Las Vegas have opened as well as (from north to south on the Strip): the Strat, Sahara, Circus Circus, Wynn-Encore, Treasure Island, the Venetian, Harrah’s, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, the Cosmopolitan, MGM Grand, the Signature at MGM Grand and New York-New York.
· The Neon Museum reopened in late May. Even though much of the site is outdoors, the number of visitors is limited at any one time. Visitors are encourage to book timed tickets in advance.
· The Mob Museum in downtown has also reopened, with temperature checks for visitors at the entrance. The museum encourages people to buy timed tickets in advance.
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