Vegas fireworks show to continue, 300,000 expected –

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Las Vegas is not canceling or scaling back plans for large New Years gatherings over concerns over the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19, regional public safety and leaders said on Wednesday. elected.

More than 300,000 visitors are expected to come to town for events including a New Year’s Eve fireworks display on the Las Vegas Strip that was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of ticket holders are also expected for an outdoor musical event on multiple stages under a canopy light show at a downtown pedestrian mall called the Fremont Street Experience.

“If you are sick, stay home. If you’re inside, wear a mask, ”said Michael Naft, a Clark County commissioner who stood alongside Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and officials from the police, fire department and centers. communication to describe the restrictions, including the ban on glass and metal containers, coolers, strollers, backpacks, handbags and luggage.

“We encourage everyone to look out for each other, take personal responsibility and take proactive steps to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Naft said.

The safety speech came on a day when a wave of coronavirus caused largely by the highly contagious variant of omicron pushed new cases of COVID-19 in the United States to the highest level on record, to more than 265,000 per day on average. The previous mark was 250,000 cases per day last January, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Paris, London, Berlin and New York are among the cities that have scaled back or canceled New Year’s celebrations, and airlines have canceled thousands of flights due to a staff shortage blamed on the virus.

Chicago officials said this week that their fireworks display was still on, despite Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s warning at a press conference that “Omicron and Delta are coming to your party.”

In Las Vegas, regional health officials on Wednesday reported 2,201 new cases of the coronavirus – the largest increase in one day since January 11 – and 15 new deaths. New cases and deaths tend to increase, and the number of people hospitalized in Clark County with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 has also jumped.

The county’s 14-day test positivity rate, representing a percentage of people tested for COVID-19 and found positive, reached 10.1%, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The World Health Organization’s target is 5% or less to relax mitigation measures.

The Southern Nevada Health District reported that 68.2% of residents in the Las Vegas area had received at least one injection of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 55.8% were fully immunized.

Goodman, a vocal critic of Nevada’s mask warrants and crowd size restrictions in the first months after the March 2020 business closures were enacted, wore a mask on Wednesday but removed it to remind media that the biggest events in Las Vegas will be held outdoors.

“We are saying that people (can) feel comfortable not wearing a mask,” the mayor said. “But individually, if you have a problem or are concerned, wear your mask. It’s a matter of respect.

Last year, even though the fireworks were canceled, thousands of revelers still gathered on casino-lined Las Vegas Boulevard to ring in 2021.

This year, the National Weather Service is forecasting a cold Friday night with near-freezing temperatures on the Strip under generally clear skies and winds that shouldn’t prevent the fireworks.

The eight-minute choreographed fireworks display will be filmed atop eight resort properties framed by the STRAT Tower and the MGM Grand Hotel, accompanied by a soundtrack broadcast on two FM radio stations in Las Vegas.

Clark County Deputy Sheriff Christopher Darcy cited lessons learned about police, fire, ambulance and communications cooperation since a sniper in October 2017 rained gunfire for 10 minutes from a high-rise hotel into a concert crowd of the Las Vegas Strip. Fifty-eight people died that night and hundreds were injured. At least two more deaths were later attributed to the mass shooting, which remains the deadliest in modern U.S. history.

Darcy said about 1,200 police officers will be assigned to the Las Vegas Boulevard neighborhood, where roads will be closed and hotels will also have thousands of security guards. Several hundred officers will be assigned to the Fremont Street neighborhood.

A curfew requires anyone under the age of 18 in both areas to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“We encourage people to take the appropriate precautions – whether it’s vaccinations or wearing face coverings – and to do whatever you can to protect yourself,” the police official said.

He added that partygoers should arrange transportation that does not involve driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“Wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes,” Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Warren Whitney said. “Stay hydrated and be prepared to walk a lot. “

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority noted in a statement that the fireworks were visible “on and off the Strip and around the Las Vegas Valley.”

“We encourage revelers to take appropriate health and safety precautions before arriving and while they are in Las Vegas, follow the inner mask mandate, and seek medical attention if they are unwell. “, says the press release.

Comments are closed.