68°F
weather icon Clear

After shutdown, Las Vegas needs a ‘we-got-through-this-together party’

This, too, shall pass.

That’s the message of hope authorities are providing as we make it past what may someday be referred to as the St. Patrick’s Day Shutdown.

After back-to-back days of devastating news — first, the official cancellation of 2020 NFL draft festivities in Las Vegas on Monday and then the closure of the state’s casinos and nonessential businesses — we are all in a state of disbelief.

I recalled reporting on the 15-day closure of casinos in Macao in February and thinking, “Wow, thank goodness that won’t happen here.”

Wrong.

With the prospect of another 3½ weeks of doldrums, I looked to Billy Vassiliadis for a ray of hope.

Vassiliadis, the boss at R&R Partners, which is contracted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to advertise the destination, expects that once the 30-day closure ordered by Gov. Steve Sisolak ends, visitors are going to come back stronger than ever.

And quickly.

“I think when it comes back, whenever that time frame is, it will come roaring back,” Vassiliadis said.

He thinks the rebound from the shutdown will be different here than in other destinations.

“The other thing we know about Vegas that has been historically true is because it’s considered to be an escape and not the kind of long-term, book-six-months-in-advance or book-all-the-museum-tours-in-ahead-of-time-style for European travel, people will be able to make a decision and call down here and get a room or whatever they want to do,” he said. “That always has been an advantage for us after a crisis, and I don’t think this will be any different.”

While Vassiliadis expects Californians to provide the biggest boost to tourism in Southern Nevada, the scope of the audience for Las Vegas may be much broader.

“They’re going to want to escape, absolutely. Southern California for sure. I think if the demand picks up, we’ll see even outside of California. We’ll see the airlines reschedule and things will pick up again,” he said.

“Also, in California, not unlike Nevada, they move quicker, and so, at least according to the best medical information there is now, the quicker you move, the shorter it lasts.”

Vassiliadis said rebounds to Singapore and Macao provide a glimpse of what things could be like for Las Vegas.

“Singapore apparently is coming back strong, and Macao’s picking up pretty nicely, even though they haven’t reopened the (Chinese) border completely,” he said. “I would think we would be at least as good as that. Pent-up demand is kind of like holding the lid down on a pot of boiling water. When you let the lid off, it just goes.”

Vassiliadis also is proud of the way Southern Nevada is positioning itself with guests. I drove the Strip late last week, and most of the marquees had messages impressing that health and safety is the top priority now but that when this ends, we’ll be eager to welcome everybody back.

“I think we’re doing some stuff here to keep the relationships with our visitors going and being very appropriate,” he said. “I think what the gaming companies did with the governor was really smart. I think it shows the visitors that we care about them more than just making money right now. We want everybody to be well, and once everybody gets well, we’ll be well-thought-of.”

So what’s the rebound going to look like? Vassiliadis advocates a party like no other city is capable of staging.

“When this is over and it’s safe, we need to have a big party. We need to have a welcome-back party or a welcome-home party. A we-got-through-this-together party,” he said.

“There’s no place to throw as big and wide a celebration as we can. And I think people are going to want to breathe. They’re going to want to release, and they will really want to celebrate the end of this thing.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Allegiant burning over $2M per day, many workers on leave with half pay - VIDEO
Allegiant Air’s parent is burning through at least $2 million in cash per day and hundreds of workers are taking two-month leave at half pay as the carrier grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small business owners talk about shutdown impact
Small business owners talk about shutdown impact. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Top stories Friday April 3, 2020
Rj Business reporters Bailey Schulz, Subrina Hudson and Eli Segall talk about the top trending stories at the Review-Journal
Caesars furloughing about 90% of US workers
The furloughs come amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted all U.S. commercial casinos to temporarily shut their doors.
Amazon blocks sale of N95 masks to public - VIDEO
Amazon established a new section of its website where U.S.-accredited hospitals or state or federal agencies can apply for supplies. N95 masks, surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves and large-volume sanitizers are among the restricted items. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cars line up for over 4 miles for food
Cars were lined up along Sahara Avenue from Palace Station to South Rainbow Boulevard for food distribution sponsored by Three Square and Central Church in Henderson.
US weekly jobless claims jump to 6.6 million - VIDEO
The U.S. Labor Department reported 6.6 million people filed for unemployment insurance in the past week. A reported 10 million people have filed over the past two weeks. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
When will self-employed get unemployment money in Nevada? - VIDEO
President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act into law March 27. It allows states to expand unemployment insurance benefits, including to independent contractors, self-employed and gig workers. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Free Business Updates
For more information head to: https://www.reviewjournal.com/vegas-business-updates/
Walmart’s new safety measures at stores: Checking temperatures - VIDEO
In an effort to intensify safety measures in their stores, Walmart and Sam’s Club will check the temperatures of all employees as they arrive for work. (Kevin Cannon / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Macy’s to furlough majority of 130,000 employees amid coronavirus closures - VIDEO
On March 30, Macy’s Inc. announced their decision to furlough a majority of their employees and instead move to the “absolute minimum workforce needed.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal
An empty Las Vegas Strip from the air - Drone Video
For the first time in forever, the famed Las Vegas Strip is closed for business amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada construction continues as coronavirus spreads
When Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Nevada businesses closed, he let construction workers stay on the job, deeming homebuilding and other construction “essential” lines of work.
US weekly jobless claims soar to record-breaking 3.28M - VIDEO
The U.S. Department of Labor released the shattering numbers on Thursday. Jobless claims had been as low as 282,000 the previous week. The 3.28 million jobless claims for last week is more than double the 1.5 million new claims that analysts were expecting. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Worker at Allegiant Stadium tests positive for COVID-19
Construction of Allegiant Stadium is unlikely to affected by the coronavirus outbreak that is having an impact on just about every industry across the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Casino companies burning through millions daily
RJ reporter Bailey Schulz talks about how much Las Vegas Casino companies are losing and how the Emergency bill could help if they run out of money or need help recouping what was lost.
Albertsons, Walmart, Amazon increase pay amid coronavirus impact - VIDEO
Grocery stores and other retailers have raised employee pay as they work to meet customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police tells nonessential businesses to respect the shutdown - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reminds businesses in Clark County that all nonessential businesses are to be shut down as mandated by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, due to the coronavirus crises. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Amazon Prime delays are now as long as a month - VIDEO
As of Sunday, many nonessential items ordered with Prime delivery are showing an April 21 delivery date. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fed announces unprecedented actions to stabilize markets - VIDEO
The Federal Reserve announced several new measures on Monday. Among the announced programs is a further commitment of $300 billion "supporting the flow of credit" for Main Street businesses. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lee’s Discount Liquor stores close on Sunday - VIDEO
Lee’s Discount Liquor stores across the Las Vegas Valley closed at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22, the company announced on Twitter. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local Businesses Message To Customers After Closing - Video
Local movie theaters and stores leave signs on their doors for customers as businesses close after being ordered to shut down.
Valley businesses react to mandatory order to shut down - VIDEO
All non-essential businesses in the Las Vegas Valley have to shut down. We spoke with store owners who would remain open for the benefit of the community and others who were still confused as to why they had to close. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada casino closures impact 206K workers, AGA finds - VIDEO
About 206,000 direct casino employees in Nevada are without work after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Tuesday mandate, according to the American Gaming Association. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More Las Vegas Valley grocery stores offer early hours for seniors - VIDEO
A growing list of Las Vegas Valley retailers are offering special shopping hours for seniors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada casinos closing for 30 days following state order - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s unprecedented order on nonessential Nevada businesses will shut down 440 licensed casinos. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wynn CEO and Dr. Rebecca Katz go over coronavirus - Video
The Wynn CEO Matt Maddox and Dr. Rebecca Katz give a warning about the coronavirus in Las Vegas and around the world.
The Bellagio casino floor cleared as guests get ready to leave hotel - VIDEO
The Bellagio casino floor cleared as guests get ready to leave hotel (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists upset with MGM Resorts' lack of closure notice - VIDEO
Tourists like David and Emma Walker, who are visiting from Scotland, found out about MGM Resorts' property closures through Google, instead of the Luxor where they are currently staying. The Walkers are upset with how MGM has handled the situation by not making their customers aware of the closures first. (Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
All Las Vegas MGM casinos, hotels to temporarily close - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International announced Sunday it is temporarily suspending operations at all Las Vegas properties “until further notice” effective Tuesday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST