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L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images

Reviving Las Vegas

From the first cheers on Fremont Street at 12:01 a.m. Thursday to the quiet hum of traffic at midnight Friday, Review-Journal photographers captured the reawakening of Las Vegas after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the city’s casinos for 78 days. Revelers on the Strip found sights both familiar — showgirls, flowing fountains and the bubbly blips and bings of slot machines — and newfangled: face masks, sanitizing stations and temperature checkpoints.
Updated June 5, 2020 - 12:13 pm

Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto
Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto

Midnight, June 4

Eager to be part of the historic reopening of casinos in downtown Las Vegas, about two dozen people crowded around the glass doors at the Golden Nugget just before midnight. As images of fireworks filled the massive LED screen above them, many recorded the moment on their cellphones.

Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto
Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto

1:12 a.m.

A few blocks away, visitors at the D Las Vegas tried their luck at slot machines. Most units had seats removed so only one person can play at a time.

Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal

2:47 a.m.

A lull in the action gives sanitation crews in neon vests a chance to mop the walkway at The Fremont Street Experience, creating puddles of reflected light.

Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal

3:20 a.m.

A worker preps the buns, condiments and, of course, the hot dogs at American Coney Island Chili Dogs, where there is almost always a line.

Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal

4:53 a.m.

Workers tested the 460-foot plumes of water at the beloved Fountains of Bellagio, one of the most recognized and photographed landmarks in the country. The first “official” show began at 9:30 a.m. with a special performance choreographed to the Shaker hymnal “Simple Gifts,” which was dedicated to the first responders and front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” followed.

Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Chris Day/Las Vegas Review-Journal

5:45 a.m.

It was 82 degrees when the sun rose at 5:23 a.m., glinting off the gold-tinted windows at Mandalay Bay. The temperature soared to 108 degrees in the afternoon amid an excessive heat warning.

Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye

6:30 a.m.

Juan Hernandez removed temporary fencing outside The Venetian that had been in place since the closure. Gondolas returned to the canals, with gondoliers voices audible for the first time in more than two months.

K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto

7:53 a.m.

Bellagio employees arrange velvet-roped stanchions in the walkway connecting the parking garage to the lobby so that visitors will enter in one direction.

L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images
L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images

8:22 a.m.

An armed guard surveys the gaming floor at Caesars Palace in front of a plaster reproduction of a famous work of ancient art depicting Roman soldiers capturing women to marry.

K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto

10:43 a.m.

The Bellagio Conservatory’s new display was originally designed with a Japanese theme to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics. The installation includes a kimono-clad Hello Kitty (made with 25,000 carnations) and a scaled-down replica of the Osaka Castle.

Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye

11:41 a.m.

Tameka Goggin photographs her friend Ronna Neville at McCarran International Airport. Both were visiting from Danville, Virginia.

L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images
L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images

1:31 p.m.

Sgt. Peppers smiles brightly as he poses for a snapshot at the landmark “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign with friend and caretaker, Sylvia Goldych, who was visiting from California.

Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto
Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto

1:44 p.m.

Guests in the Golden Nugget pool enjoy the shark-infested view using appropriate social distancing measures.

L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images
L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images

3:59 p.m.

The Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York was back in action, its taxi cab-themed trains whooshing through its famous 180-degree twist-and-dive maneuver.

K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto

4:13 p.m.

David Alexander of Beaumont, California, cools off with daughters Isabella, 8, left, and Elise, 7, in the Bellagio pool.

Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal @ellenkschmidt_
Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal @ellenkschmidt_

4:58 p.m.

Newlyweds Malgorzata and Jesse Benedict of Pennsylvania share a kiss outside Graceland Wedding Chapel after exchanging vows.

Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco
Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco

6:31 p.m.

An acrobat performs at Circus Circus, one of a dozen daily specialty acts featured at the Carnival Midway.

K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto

6:54 p.m.

Nighthawks sip wine and cocktails at The Mayfair Supper Club bar at Bellagio, separated by partitions.

K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto

7:05 p.m.

LaShonda Reese commands the stage at The Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio.

Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco
Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco

8:01 p.m.

A street cleaner pushes his cart across a walkway as Wayne Newton seemingly offers a supportive smile from signage above. Newton attended the reopening of Caesars Palace earlier in the day for the first dice throw at the craps table.

Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal @ellenkschmidt_
Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal @ellenkschmidt_

8:22 p.m.

Tattoo artist Jacob Wilcox uses his needles to create an “angry Jayhawk” on Las Vegan Patrick Belcastro’s chest at Downtown Tattoo. The cartoon-looking bird, with big shoes and even bigger beak, is the mascot for the University of Kansas.

L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images
L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Left_Eye_Images

8:24 p.m.

Ciara Radic celebrated her 40th birthday at the Skypod atop The Strat, where she and her husband, Alex, shared a blissful moment. As they watched the sun slip away, they had the entire balcony to themselves.

Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal @ellenkschmidt_
Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal @ellenkschmidt_

10:48 p.m.

Three police officers have a conversation near the entrance to the Flamingo as foot traffic slows down to a trickle. A small group of protesters walked along the Strip a few hours earlier but disbanded peacefully.

Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco
Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco

Midnight, June 5

A blur of headlights fills Las Vegas Boulevard, and the city that doesn’t sleep slows a bit as people head home. The beams almost seem like an extension of the still-glowing signage, beneath a marquee that says it all: Now open.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

Top image: 10:04 a.m. Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio, left, stands next to Ben Laparne as he rolls the first dice at the craps table at Caesars Palace. Onlookers included longtime Vegas headliner Wayne Newton, right, alongside a costumed Caesar and Cleopatra.

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