The Neon Museum reopened Friday night to sold-out ticket sales and several first-time visitors.
Heightened safety protocols like temperature screenings and social distancing, as well as a discounted $10 ticket price, helped coax locals into returning to the outdoor collection of classic neon marquees and the remaining pieces from Tim Burton’s temporary exhibit.
“We had nothing to do,” said Jason Woods, a Las Vegas native who had never visited the museum before. “We’ve been stuck inside for three months. I saw this was opening.”
Woods and his wife were in one of the evening’s tour groups of 10 people.
Under regular operations, tour groups accommodate 22 people. The decrease is intended to better enable social distancing, said interpretive staff supervisor Allen Linnabary. Each group moves through one of three areas of the Neon Boneyard at a time.
Dusty Woods said she was able to maintain a few paces between her and the family in front of her by referring to orange stickers that indicate 6 feet of distance, located on the fence’s stanchions.
Before entering the museum lobby, all guests were screened with a no-touch thermometer and encouraged, though not required, to wear face masks.
Several visitors wore their masks inside the lobby, with only a handful removing them once in the open-air Boneyard.
“We were able to keep distance from the other family in our group,” said Elsa Cutter, who was also a first-time visitor to the museum. “They had each group go in 15-minute increments.”
Las Vegas natives Alejandra Contreras and Shirley Bonilla visited the museum for the first time to take advantage of the discount.
“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do but was putting off,” said Contreras. “It brings a warm feeling, knowing that Las Vegas rose and we can too, again.”
Both women wore masks and said the new health protocols made them feel safer.
“I’m from here. With the (Oct. 1) shooting, now the virus, it feels like it’s one thing after another somehow,” said Contreras. “I love to see the resilience of Las Vegas. What better way than to come and appreciate it? We need to look at things with a brighter perspective.”