Since I live here in Las Vegas, I see this place through the eyes and mind of a local resident–not a visitor. As a local, I accept without holding anything back that Vegas is, if nothing else, a place of business.
Vegas is a place where people attempt to make money selling goods and services to others in ways that few other American cities ever attempt.
Money gets spent on marketing slogans to attract visitors to come here to Vegas so they will spend their money on gambling, transportation, eating, drinking (alcoholic beverages), enjoying legal cannabis, hotel rooms, live music concerts, pro sports events, and so on. Visitors who travel here need not stop to think about this aspect of Vegas as a place of business.
The whole “myth of Las Vegas” (if that’s how you’d like to think of it) springs from one totally comfortable falsehood: Vegas is primarily for being carefree, having fun doing things and experiencing stuff you normally don’t do when you’re back at home.
As social myths go in American culture, the Vegas myth is powerful and literally casts effective spells over mere mortals like you and me. Somehow, or so says the myth, whenever you visit Vegas, doing so instantly gives you free reign to behave however you want to behave (even to excess) without any responsibility to ever think about any consequences whatsoever of what you do here in Vegas.
You know exactly what I’m posting here is true. You know this because you, too, have heard the phrase what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas over the years.
That mindset is, of course, completely irresponsible. But it is also completely understandable.
Few, if any, visitors ever arrive in Vegas and tell themselves, “I am going to be responsible while I am here in Vegas!” And this is directly a result of all that marketing money invested by Vegas business interests to give clear-cut permission to all visitors to “do whatever you want” because everything stays here after you go back home.
Vegas is genuinely a playground for legal-age adults situated within a very large desert and sufficiently distant from most other American cities. The literal isolation Vegas has separating this place from other population centers in the U.S. promotes a sense of insulation for Vegas. When visitors arrive here, they instantly know they’re no longer in Kansas anymore (or wherever they may happen to claim as their home.)
In 2020 an awful thing happened to Vegas. A worldwide respiratory disease which is highly contagious and easy to spread from one to another person was brought here by someone. The coronavirus originated elsewhere (at least we know it was not created here in Vegas) so somebody had to bring it here. And they did.
Vegas suffered severe financial losses (not counting the number of human beings who died from the coronavirus) because since the early 20th century, Vegas has had to depend financially upon visitors who come here willing to spend their money here while visiting.
The worldwide spread of that highly contagious respiratory disease was at complete odds with visitors who would choose to travel to this fun adult playground to enjoy a few carefree days and nights without thinking about any consequences of their personal, public behaviors.
The pandemic changed all that during 2020. That was the year which forced people all around our planet to learn to think about such consequences. And now springtime of 2021 in Vegas heading into the summer months herald a return to the glorious, carefree days and nights when visitors came here to Vegas believing the social and cultural myth that what happens here stays here.
While that pleasant and comforting myth lives on as powerfully as it always has lived, we should know that the unpleasant and not-so-comforting reality is: You and I can still get infected by that airborne respiratory disease in 2021.
You may have done the correct thing and got fully vaccinated. Think of all those people who have not done so. Do you welcome them to Las Vegas in 2021?
While we all want to hear that Vegas businesses are happy making money once again in 2021. Do we want to jeopardize own personal health and the health of our loved ones by welcoming to Vegas unvaccinated visitors just because they are coming here to spend lots of money and help the local Vegas economy?
Think carefully before you answer this impossible question.