I have a Vegas Crew of guys. They’re all friends of an old high school buddy of mine, and that’s initially how I got into this crew, and I’ve been going to Vegas with them every couple of years for the last 15 years or so.
COVID put a stop to that. One of the truly hardcore members kept going to Vegas anyway, even in the pre-vaccination days, betting (so to speak) that some personal care and a mask would keep him protected (and they did). But once I got vaccinated, one of my first thoughts was, “How can I make this happen again?” I decided to put up with the mild hassle of wearing a face mask most of the time for a chance to hit Vegas and see the crew again.
And then things got impossibly better. Mask mandates were lifted in most locations for the vaccinated, and suddenly Vegas looked like it would be Full Vegas again. We even bought show tickets to see comedian Ron White — something we’d never done as a crew.
But you know what happened. The unvaccinated, predictably, chowderheaded around and the Delta variant became a menace. Clark County, where Vegas is located, became a coronavirus hotspot. And I debated canceling.
But I also could see the clear line between infections in the vaccinated and unvaccinated, so dammit, I decided to go to Vegas anyway.
The result was different, but still fun. What impressed me the most was the general compliance with wearing masks indoors. Oh, sure, there was a maskless foambrain here and there (and I was pretty confident that these same jaw-draggers weren’t vaccinated, either), but for the most part, people did what they should be doing. And as a result, I had a great time — and wearing a mask turned out to be far less constricting than I would have imagined. I visited 27 (!) hotels and casinos in four days, mostly discovering that my age is starting to really affect my ability to walk that much (and stay up late).
Vegas is my happy place. For decades, I’ve been going there for a little bit of soul cleansing. I know that lots of people hate it, especially the cheesiest parts of it (which have been fading away for years now). But that’s exactly why I love it. And this time, even with the health restrictions and precautions, I loved it again. A little look at a downtown scene: