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Vegas Reawakening

It wasn’t exactly the pressed-flesh bacchanal that came to define pool parties in the pre-COVID Before Times. Still, the images out of Circa’s Stadium Swim pool complex were striking. Depending on your comfort level, alarming even.

Hundreds of partygoers soaked up the sun and the opening games of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament — with few attempts at social distancing and even fewer masks — at Stadium Swim as the first weekend of spring helped usher in Las Vegas’ push for a return to normalcy.

Combine March Madness and spring break, some stragglers who turned St. Patrick’s Day into a weekend and an increase to 50 percent capacity at most venues as more and more people are vaccinated, and the past few days have been a perfect storm of promise for Las Vegas’ recovery.

Visitors slammed shots at a pop-up bar near the baggage claim at McCarran International Airport. Tourists clutched Versace shopping bags on the Strip. The Fremont Street Experience was packed once again.

“This is a dream come true,” one fan said of watching the games unfold at the Westgate sportsbook.

That’s a sentiment that’s no doubt being echoed throughout the valley’s beleaguered hospitality industry — even though it’s only one weekend.

So far, anyway.

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