The Strat Joins Other Las Vegas Casinos Open at Full Capacity

Posted on: May 11, 2021, 03:18h. 

Last updated on: July 7, 2021, 02:29h.

The Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod this week became the latest resort in the Las Vegas Valley approved to operate its casino floor at 100 percent capacity.

Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod
The Las Vegas gateway arches light up the street at the base of the Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod. Gaming regulations have allowed the Strat to operate its casino at full capacity. (Image: Los Angeles Times)

Known for years as the Stratosphere, the Strat announced on Monday that the Nevada Gaming Control Board has given the property permission to lift the coronavirus restrictions placed on casinos.

The Strat joins the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and two Wynn Resorts properties, Wynn Las Vegas and the adjacent Encore, in operating at 100 percent capacity on their gaming floors.  

The Gaming Control Board is allowing casinos statewide to lift coronavirus restrictions if management can verify that at least 80 percent of the workforce is inoculated against COVID-19. This means casinos can operate at full capacity and remove plastic barriers at table games and free slot machines.

 Masks are still required for employees and customers.

In the 1990s, casino developer Bob Stupak oversaw the tower’s construction. It opened in April 1996. The 1,149-foot tower is topped by a rotating restaurant and thrill rides.

The resort now is owned by Golden Entertainment, which also operates PT’s-branded pubs and taverns throughout the valley.

The 2,427-room Strat is on Las Vegas Boulevard, just north of Sahara Avenue, inside city limits. The city of Las Vegas gateway arches are at the Strat’s base.

The Las Vegas Strip south of Sahara Avenue is outside city limits. Most of the area’s megaresorts, including Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, and the Cosmopolitan, are on that portion of the Strip.

‘Path to Normalcy’

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered casinos and other nonessential businesses to close in an effort to curtail COVID-19 infection rates.

After 11 weeks, he allowed casinos to reopen June 4. The state gradually increased casino capacity to 50 percent this spring.

Beginning May 1, the Gaming Control Board was authorized to extend the capacity limit at casinos if the properties show “measurable” steps to vaccinate employees.

As part of this process, the board reminded casinos in a memo that their licenses are a revocable privilege, not a right.

In Clark County, the board on May 1 extended the casino capacity limit to 80 percent from the previous state mandate of 50 percent. Las Vegas is in Clark County.

Casinos in other Nevada counties are operating at 100 percent capacity. These counties are Douglas, Storey, Humboldt, Pershing, Lander, Elko, Eureka, White Pine, Lincoln, and Nye.

Cosmopolitan CEO and President William McBeath said vaccinations are “the only clear path to normalcy.” 

The governor has said he wants to the entire state to be at 100 capacity by June 1.

Masks Not Required Outdoors

Last week, Sisolak updated the state’s COVID-19 health guidelines to match those issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One federal guideline now in effect in Nevada states that fully vaccinated people can be outside without masks.

Statewide, 28.5 percent of eligible Nevadans were fully vaccinated by Monday, according to KLAS-TV. Almost 47 percent of the eligible population has received at least one shot.

Some resorts in the Las Vegas area have begun posting signs at their swimming pools, notifying fully vaccinated guests that they can be without masks at poolside lounge chairs, daybeds, or cabanas. Among the hotel-casino companies posting these signs are Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts.