The first Las Vegas pool party has opened since the Strip was closed down in mid-March due to the outbreak of coronavirus that drew the city’s entertainment industry to a halt.
However, the usual scenes of wild drunken antics were replaced with a more subdued atmosphere, with social distancing reportedly encouraged, surfaces cleaned vigorously, and pools almost empty.
Thursday saw many of the city’s famous hotel casinos reopen, including MGM Resorts International’s Bellagio, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Signature, while Caesars Entertainment reopened Caesars Palace, Flamingo and Harrah’s.
However, while MGM said that it intended to keep nightclubs and pool parties closed, The Flamingo has opted to reopen its pool parties, with the first being opened to the public on Thursday.
Photos released on Thursday from parties showed the pools were fairly quiet compared to what would have typically been seen prior to the closures.
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Small groups or individual sun-seekers were spotted in the water, sunbathing by the pool, or propping up the bars as bikini-clad staff served drinks.
The staff could also be seen cleaning working to keep the pool and surfaces around it particular clean to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading among the revelers.
While experts believe coronavirus cannot remain infection in pool water, there is still a risk it can spread through the air around pools.
Speaking to The Atlantic, Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, explained that people in close-proximity with each other at a pool party are at greater risk than if someone was swimming laps.
‘If someone is swimming laps, that would be pretty safe as long as they’re not spitting water everywhere,’ she said. ‘But a Las Vegas–type pool party, that would be less safe, because people are just hanging out and breathing on each other.’