LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas could see the largest crowds since the COVID-19 related shutdowns in March and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is urging residents to remain vigilant and avoid large holiday gatherings.
The unofficial end of summer comes during a pandemic that forced shutdowns of the major industry that fuels Nevada's economy for nearly two months and has been sluggish to return to normal visitation levels.
"I think we're looking at about 50% [of normal] somewhere around 125,000 or 150,000 coming to town," said Anthony Curtis with LasVegasAdisor.com
"I think we'd be pretty happy with that, if it's a little less than, it's a little less," added Curtis.
Curtis points to unusually cheap hotel rooms, the return of free parking, and some resorts and hotels are waiving resort fees.
"Las Vegas is a bargain right now, there are some really good deals popping, especially room rates and that's what they need to do," said Curtis.
"Las Vegas has always, historically, lowered room rates in times of trouble," added Curtis.
Experts say visitors will largely travel by vehicle from locations closer to Nevada, but exactly how many, is a question mark, even for the experts.
"Typically, during this time, you and I would be talking about hard numbers on how many people we expect to be traveling to and from Las Vegas but that's just not something we're able to do this year because of the state of flux because of the pandemic," said Sergio Avila with AAA Nevada.
Avila says recently people have been planning trips, typically traveling by vehicle, with little planning.
McCarran International airport is expecting more travelers over the Labor Day Holiday weekend and says flying is different than normal.
"We still recommend that passengers arrive two hours before their scheduled departure time with social distancing the lines for some of the things that you were used to maybe a little bit longer and we want to make sure you have enough time to catch your flights," said Joe Rajchel, with McCarran International Airport.
McCarran reminds travelers and anyone at the airport must have a mask that covers both the mouth and nose and encouraging people to use the cell phone lot and stay in vehicles instead of coming into the terminal to pick up passengers.
All of the travel comes with a warning from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak about the possible spread of COVID-19.
He is encouraging locals to stay home and away from large gatherings or hosting large parties.
"Usually people go to the lake, they have big bar-be-ques, they have big parties. I'm going to ask you one more time, please don't do that, please celebrate with your immediate family at home," said Gov. Steve Sisolak.
During a news conference Thursday, Gov. Sisolak said the overall trend for new virus infections, hospital visits, and deaths connected to COVID-19 are trending downward.
Gov. Sisloak says the previous large holidays, Memorial Day and July 4, both saw a spike in cases about two weeks later.