The Latest: Las Vegas casino capacity, crowds increase

By The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas has increased its casino capacity and more pandemic-weary tourists are arriving at the entertainment city.

Casino capacity on the Strip increased to 80% and person-to-person distancing drops to 3 feet on Saturday. The boom began in mid-March when casino occupancy went from 35% to 50% under state health guidelines.

Among the first arrivals were people ages 60 and older who were recently vaccinated with time and disposable income. Analysts said pent-up demand, available hotel rooms and $1,400 pandemic recovery checks from the federal government have contributed to the rush.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority tallied more than 2.2 million visitors in March. The figure was down 40% from March 2019. Casinos closed from mid-March to early June last year, helping to drive the Nevada jobless rate in April above 30% — the highest in any state. The current state rate is 8.1%.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has set a June 1 target for lifting nearly all coronavirus mitigation restrictions statewide. Mask mandates will remain in place indefinitely.

There have been 315,000 reported cases and 5,464 confirmed deaths in Nevada. The majority were reported in the Las Vegas area, where most people in the state live.

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

WASHINGTON — Mississippi has the lowest vaccination rate in the U.S., with less than 31% of its population receiving at least one anti-coronavirus shot.

Alabama, Louisiana, Idaho and Wyoming are the next four, according to an Associated Press analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Those states vote reliably Republican in presidential races. So Republican leaders are stepping up efforts to persuade their supporters to get the shot, at times combating misinformation.

The five states with the highest vaccination rates backed Democrat Joe Biden in November. New Hampshire leads the nation with 60% of its population receiving at least one dose, followed by Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine

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PARIS — Workers and union leaders have dusted off bullhorns and flags that had stayed furled during coronavirus lockdowns for boisterous May Day marches.

In countries that mark May 1 as International Labor Day, workers clamored Saturday for more labor protections and financial support in the midst of the pandemic that has impacted workplaces and economies.

In Turkey and the Philippines, police cracked down on May Day protests, enforcing virus lockdowns.

For labor leaders, the annual celebration of workers’ rights was a test of their ability to mobilize people in the face of the pandemic’s profound disruptions.

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NAIROBI — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta loosened infection-control measures Saturday after the number of coronavirus cases in the country dropped from an early spring surge.

Kenyatta announced in his May Day speech that a nightly curfew will move to 10 p.m., following a 72% reduction in new cases. On March 26, 2020, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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