The Las Vegas Convention Center will hold its first event in seven months this weekend, as Mecum Auctions drives into town for its annual car sale.
The exhibition complex has been shut down since early March, as COVID-19 quickly halted, postponed, and canceled dozens of planned conventions. The facility, owned and operated by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), will reopen its doors November 13-14 for Mecum Auctions Las Vegas 2020.
The auction is permitted to welcome up to 1,000 guests inside the Convention Center. But bidders will be separated into four rooms, each with 250 people. Mecum says its Las Vegas show is sold out.
Under current COVID-19 restrictions ordered by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), conventions and indoor gatherings are limited to 250 people. Larger venues, such as the Convention Center, can exceed that number, but only if they stay below 10 percent of their fire code capacity and safety plans are submitted and approved by state and local officials.
No state relies more heavily on tourism and conventions than Nevada. MGM Resorts, the operator of the most casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, is also the state’s largest employer.
The days of gambling being the economic lifeline of Southern Nevada are long gone. Today, Sin City depends just as much on non-gaming, with business conventions being a major component.
Of the 42.5 million people who traveled to Las Vegas last year, a record 6.6 million said they did so primarily for a convention.
On average, convention visitors spend 18 percent more than leisure visitors per trip, a value premium that generates greater economic impact per visitor,” explains Applied Analysis, which conducts market research on behalf of the LVCVA.
“In total, spending by visitors attending conventions directly supported 43,500 jobs, $2.0 billion in wages, and economic output of $6.6 billion,” a LVCVA brief recently stated. “When including indirect and induced impacts, the totals increase to 67,600 jobs, $3.1 billion in wages, and $11.4 billion of total economic output.”
The first Las Vegas convention in more than half a year comes just as the state is experiencing an increase in new coronavirus cases. Sisolak announced yesterday his “Stay at Home 2.0” plan, which encourages Nevadans to avoid unnecessary travel in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out,” Sisolak pleaded. “The fall spike predicted by all medical and scientific experts is now our reality.”
The governor’s directive, however, does not apply to non-residents considering a trip to the Silver State.
“They [travelers] certainly should come, because they are protecting your jobs. But when they come here and stay in one of our properties, they need to wear a mask,” Sisolak declared.
Nevada’s 14-day positivity rate has surged from 6.5 percent in in mid-September to 13.8 percent this week. The World Health Organization has advised governments that they should be experiencing a five percent or less positivity rate before lifting COVID-19 restrictions.