Strip resort and tourism leaders aren’t ready to talk about whether the mass shooting carried out by a gunman perched in a Mandalay Bay hotel room Sunday would affect plans for the “America’s Party” New Year’s Eve celebration attended by thousands of revelers.
More than 330,000 people descended on Las Vegas in December for the 17th annual event. At “American’s Party,” thousands walk the traffic-free Strip in clear view of hotel rooms that tower above.
Gunman Stephen Paddock showered a crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival with bullets from modified semi-automatic weapons, killing 58 and injuring nearly 500.
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said consideration of the event is still weeks away.
“Right now, we’re still in the midst of an investigation where the community is going through a lot of healing,” Sisolak said. “That discussion will have to come, no doubt about it, but I think that discussion is a couple of weeks out.”
“I am not aware of anyone who is prepared to address at this stage,” a Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority official texted a reporter Friday.
A Strip official who asked to remain anonymous attended a meeting Friday with the Metropolitan Police Department and said that “there would be some changes to deployment but never brought up anything about fireworks.”
The eight-minute New Year’s Eve celebration features more than 80,000 fireworks costing $500,000 and is one of the city’s best-attended events. An estimated 7,000 police and security officers are stationed at locations across the Strip.
Shells are launched to between 200 and 300 feet above Aria, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, TI and The Venetian during the show. Fireworks displays also rain down from the Stratosphere Tower and are launched in downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience.
Over the years, resort executives have been receptive to safety changes along the Strip, endorsing proposals to ban large bags, strollers and glass bottles from Las Vegas Boulevard. Earlier this year, Clark County approved the installation of hundreds of bollards — steel posts designed to prevent vehicles from entering pedestrian areas — on the Strip.
Work was scheduled to begin this month with completion of the $4 million project within two months.
But fear from an armed sniper is uncharted territory for Las Vegas, which is hoping to exceed 2016’s record 42.9 million annual visitors.