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‘It was just so eerie,’ business owners, tourists reflect on Las Vegas Strip COVID-19 shutdown 3 years later

By Sasha Loftis,


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Friday marked 3 years since the Las Vegas Strip shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, as former Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all non-essential businesses to close.

On St. Patrick’s Day this year, people piled into Southern Nevada mean, green, and ready to party.

“To see everyone out and about,” tourist Wayne Eaglin said. “Getting their Irish on.”

However, exactly 3 years ago on March 17, 2020, the world painted a much different picture as COVID-19 restrictions turned the normally bustling Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street into a ghost town.


“It was just so eerie,” Eaglin recalled.

“It was very surreal and almost creepy,” local restaurant owner Kim Owens recalled. “To see all of the buildings down here boarded up and no vibrancy at all.”

Owens opened her Downtown restaurant Main St. Provisions just a few months after the shutdowns and she said the stress and restrictions made the process anything but easy.

“25% capacity, six feet in between tables,” Owens explained. “Limit of four guests per table.”

She, like many others, struggled to stay afloat, but Owens added the work was worth it because this year her business is thriving.

“I feel like perhaps we are on track,” she explained. “As to where I thought we would be in 2020 when we opened.”

It has taken a long time, but so many said they are glad to finally see our city back on top.

“It’s eye-opening,” tourist Jesus Manriquez concluded. “Compared to what it used to be.”

The Las Vegas Strip stayed closed for nearly three months before reopening on June 4, 2020. According to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, the local tourism industry lost about $34 billion that year.

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