Tens of thousands on Vegas strip despite warning

LAS VEGAS — Tens of thousands of people were walking on the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve by early evening despite a plea from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak that people reconsider their plans to go out and celebrate.

While shopping, gambling, drinking yard-long frozen cocktails and gawking at the sights, most everyone out in Sin City was wearing a face mask, though not all had them covering their mouth and nose, as recommended by health experts.

Casinos have abided by state rules by spacing out chairs at slot machines and installing acrylic partitions separating people standing around craps and blackjack tables, but inside the casino corridors that snake past the gambling floors there were many areas where there were too many people strolling through to abide by social distancing guidelines.

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Chanel Griggs and Layena Williams, two street performers costumed in black lingerie, tiaras and purple and white showgirl feathers, said New Year’s Eve is one of their most lucrative nights as they pose for photos with tourists and collect tips.

“It’s very busy and there’s a lot of people, like drunk people. They give us more money than they usually would. So that’s why we all come out,” Griggs said.

The tourist-dependent economy of Las Vegas has been pummeled this year because of the coronavirus, leaving officials like Sisolak urging people, especially locals, to stay home, while still trying to draw visitors to the glitzty city.

New Year’s Eve is typically one of the biggest parties the city sees all year, with more than 330,000 revelers, a choreographed fireworks show launched from the roofs of casinos, nightclub galas, concerts and other entertainment.

This year casinos are limited to 25% capacity, most nightclubs are closed and the fireworks show was canceled.

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