Las Vegas will soon take another step in loosening its COVID-19 restrictions. In a press conference on Tuesday, September 29, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak unveiled a new directive—in effect starting October 1—that increases the limit on gatherings in the state from 50 to 250 people or 50% of capacity, whichever is less.

The directive is a positive sign for the MICE industry, as it applies to a wide range of venues both indoor and outdoor and type of in-person gatherings (including tradeshows, conventions and corporate meetings).

“This will allow Nevada to continue on the responsible path of economic reopening and recovery,” Gov. Sisolak said. “With this next step comes great responsibility for our residents, business owners, workers and families. I’m confident Nevada will rise to this challenge to ensure we follow all mitigation measures and guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our economy.”

Under the new directive, tradeshows and conventions may resume statewide, including in Las Vegas, for a max of 1,000 people, but the venue must meet certain requirements to do so, including:

  • Dividing those people into separate groups/rooms that hold no more than 250 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less.
  • Submitting a “Large Gathering Venues COVID-19 Preparedness & Safety Plan” to the local health authority to confirm that the event “will not place an unacceptable burden on the local public health infrastructure.” (See a submission guide here.)

If a venue, either indoor or outdoor, has a fixed seating capacity of more than 2,500 and wants to host more than 250 individuals, it may have up to 10% of its fixed seating capacity for the gathering, as long as the venue:

  • Establishes sections of no more than 250 people.
  • Maintains social distancing.
  • Submits a “Large Gathering Venues COVID-19 Preparedness & Safety Plan.”
  • Prohibits standing room.
  • Requires pre-registration, reservations or ticketing. (No general admission.)

Live entertainment at gatherings will also be allowed under the new directive, as long as:

  • The stage or performance area is at least 25 feet from the audience.
  • The performers/entertainers/players maintain at least 25 feet from spectators. (At that distance, they are not required to be included in the occupant capacity limit. But if they join spectator spaces, they must be included.)

The new directive is specific to gatherings, so the capacity limit of 50% is still in effect for specific businesses, including restaurants, bars and gyms. Nevada’s mask mandate is also still in effect and requires everyone in the state to wear a face covering while out in public.

Read the full summary of the directive here.

Plus: More Hotels Set to Reopen in Las Vegas

As the new directive on gatherings is set to take effect soon, some major Las Vegas properties have announced reopening plans.

Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas will reopen September 30, marking the first MGM Resorts properties around the world to reopen following the company’s COVID-19 closures. Park MGM will also reopen as the strip’s first smoke-free casino resort. Both resorts will operate under MGM Resorts’ Seven-Point Safety Plan.

[Related Podcast: Checking in with Las Vegas and MGM Resorts on Sanitation, Rebookings and How Meeting Spaces Will Look Different]

“The opening of Park MGM and NoMad represents a significant milestone as we continue down the path of Las Vegas’ recovery,” said Anton Nikodemus, president of MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas portfolio, in a press release. “Returning employees to work and building on the experiences available to our guests throughout the city are important steps. We’re incredibly thankful to the team members who have worked tirelessly to bring this moment to fruition in the wake of incredible challenges.”

Smoke Free Signage

Also on the strip, Planet Hollywood hotel and casino, a Caesars property, plans to reopen October 8 and will operate under Caesars’ Health and Safety Protocols.

To the east of the strip, a new hotel plans to open in Las Vegas after the New Year. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas recently announced its plans to open January 15, 2021. The property, which upgrades the former Hard Rock Hotel property, will feature:

  • 60,000 square feet of fully renovated casinos.
  • Over five acres of luxe upgraded outdoor space and pools.
  • New world-class restaurants, lounges and bars.
  • 130,000 square feet of remodeled meeting, event and convention spaces. 

Read Next: Meetings Today 2020 Las Vegas Supplement