Las Vegas struggles to survive as glitzy ‘Sin City’ is paralyzed by coronavirus shutdown – The Sun

LAS Vegas is struggling to survive as the glitzy city is paralyzed by the coronavirus shutdown.

"Sin City" has been hard-hit during the COVID-19 outbreak as slot machines are powered down, casinos shuttered, and major events canceled.

In Nevada's party town, neon lights issue somber safety messages instead of advertising nightclubs, magic shows and topless revues.

The Bellagio casino fountains are still as the deadly bug continues to infect thousands of Americans.

The throngs of usual visitors are nowhere to seen as sidewalks remain deserted and birds can be heard chirping.

“It’s crazy,” said Chris Morehouse, a 70-year-old Elvis impersonator. “It’s like the end of the world.”

He spent a recent afternoon sipping Miller High Life and posing with a few locals who took advantage of the eerie silence to take photos at the Strip's welcome sign.

Nevada’s tourism, leisure, hospitality and gambling industry accounts for one in three jobs in the state.

This means that the state is more dependent on tourism than Alaska is reliant on oil.

A study from the Nevada Resort Association says workers are set to lose $7.7 billion in wages and salaries over the next 18 months if the tourism industry is shuttered between 30 and 90 days.

With industry shuttered for more than five weeks in The Sagebrush State, over 343,000 residents have filed for unemployment.

State and local governments could lose more than $1 billion in tax revenues as the emergency measures pummel the economy.

Residents protested the business closures during a protest in Las Vegas on April 23, with signs urging officials to "Open The Strip Clubs."

Las Vegas' independent Mayor Carolyn Goodman called on Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak to end the statewide shutdown of casinos and non-essential businesses.

She has branded the coronavirus mitigation measures which are expected to stretch into May as "total insanity."

“For heaven’s sake,” Goodman said at an April city council meeting. "Being closed is killing us already, and killing Las Vegas, our industry, our convention and tourism business that we have all worked so hard to build.”

Sisolak has not confirmed when he will begin to ease restrictions, saying that the state needs to demonstrate two weeks of declining rates and ramp up its testing capacity before the lockdown ends.

“We will rebuild our economy. Las Vegas will continue to thrive. But I can’t do that if I lose more people,” he told CNN Wednesday.

Brandy Little, a 35-year-old economist, cried the first time she drove the empty Strip during the shutdown, knowing the devastation it has wreaked on her native city.

“It wouldn’t have been bad if we were only briefly in it,” she said of the coronravirus.

“But the whole world is really being hit by it, and we rely on the world to come here and play. If they’re hurting, they might not come and play.”

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