Walking through Las Vegas during the coronavirus pandemic
Updated: Aug 14
What is happening at the moment? During Spring Break, a Southwestern reporter ended up in Vegas - and was stunned.
By Johannes Becht
It feels unreal. Probably nowhere does this coronavirus pandemic feel more unreal than in the streets of Las Vegas. Usually crowded with people, the Sin City is experiencing times almost never seen before. It is empty. Almost no traffic, almost no pedestrians, almost no life.
I had planned on going to Las Vegas weeks in advance, and I don't regret my decision. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wouldn't want to miss it. But I made a few changes. For example, instead of letting Uber take me from place to place, I rent a car.
But only getting out of the car and actually walking on the Strip made me realize the full impact of COVID-19 on the Sin City. Roads to the hotel's entrances are closed and often, you see a police car near it to enforce the closings. An almost scary situation.
Few people still can be discovered on the Strip though, either homeless people or American tourists. People with accent, like me, are very rare during these days.
Two main factors contributed to this. First, the travel ban, imposed by the U.S. government. Second, the Nevada's governor's order to close all non-essential businesses in Nevada, including those on the Strip. For the ones a necessary step to prevent the virus from spreading, for the others an economic disaster. An Uber driver told me that he had filed a petition to reopen business. Nevada has confirmed more than 150 cases so far.
The news on TV, walking through an empty Sin City, hearing about friends and family under lock down back in Europe - this situation still seems surreal.
National Parks are open - and free
But some good news: A few people practice social distancing by enjoying the amazing scenery the area around Las Vegas has to offer. I did, and it was a very good decision. Death Valley, Valley of Fire, and Grand Canyon all suspended their entrance fees through March 30. Combined savings of more than $50.
How does the virus affect your life? How did you experience Spring Break?