A mandatory stop for many tourists to Las Vegas is the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Since 1959, it has sat in the median at the southern tip of the Las Vegas Strip next to the airport. In a normal 24-hour period, thousands of tourists line up at all hours of the day and night to have their photos taken in front of the icon, a free background offering absolute proof of a Vegas visit. Since becoming New to Las Vegas, I often have taken visiting guests over for a keepsake shot.
Of course, thanks to the coronavirus crisis, these are not normal times. Vegas is essentially shut down and likely will remain that way well into April at a minimum. With all casinos and many hotels with their fancy shows closed, tourism is down to a trickle.
This afternoon, I drove the 2½ miles between Flamingo Road and the sign, a stretch through the heart of the Strip that passes the famous Bellagio Fountains where folks like to gawk. Normally, there would be maybe 10,000 people on foot along both sides of the famous road.
Today, I counted exactly 49.
But not every tourist has disappeared, just 99.99% of them. So Clark County, which maintains the area around the Vegas sign (which is more than four miles outside the city limits of Las Vegas proper), has posted a small sign. It asks tourists to observe social distancing guidelines and stay six feet apart.
When I passed by today, there were tourists at the sign. As you can see by my nearby photo, the social distancing guidance was ignored.