‘The worst of all the catastrophes’ recedes in Vegas
Lucy Kafanov, CNN • Updated 23rd April 2021
Las Vegas (CNN) — On a recent Wednesday night, the famous Las Vegas strip was teeming with tourists. Families crowded around the Fountains of Bellagio, enthralled by the light show as geysers of water soared hundreds of feet into the air while Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady” blasted over the loudspeakers.
Showgirls roamed the strip in pairs, posing for photos with visitors — for a fee. Street vendors hawked waters and balloons. The only noticeable reminder of the pandemic were the masks obscuring most of the faces.
More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic turned the city into a ghost town, Las Vegas is slowly coming back to life, aided by the vaccine rollout and tentative reopenings.
Some workers are feeling lucky
The newest player in town, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, took a gamble in opening up a new property last month in the space formerly occupied by the Hard Rock Casino Hotel. Richard “Boz” Bosworth, president and CEO of parent group JC Hospitality, noted that 1,300 of the Hard Rock’s former 1,600-person staff were rehired by Virgin.
One of the hotel’s bartenders, Cash Caterine, says he feels fortunate to get his job back.
“I’ve seen this town go up and down and go through many different transitions but the pandemic was the worst of all the catastrophes,” Caterine said. “It’s definitely been a jarring experience for a lot of people.”
While Sin City is slowly coming back to life, thousands of workers who kept the casinos and resorts operating remain without a job.