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Las Vegas Strip could close for first time in decades

LAS VEGAS – The last time casinos went dark here, it was a day of mourning: Nov. 25, 1963. John F. Kennedy’s funeral.

“Casinos closed from 7 a.m. to midnight,” Nevada historian Michael Green told the Reno Gazette Journal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. “The NFL still played its games. Commissioner Pete Rozelle got a lot of grief.” 

Now, there’s a new shutdown coming – this time to prevent a different kind of tragedy.

On Tuesday, 16 properties along Las Vegas Boulevard with begin closing to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus – a contagious illness at the heart of a pandemic that’s killed more than 7,300 people around the globe.

A ghost town by choice

Health officials on Monday reported Nevada’s first coronavirus death, a Clark County man in his 60s. Meanwhile, the number of patients is rapidly accelerating. So far, there are 45 reported cases in Nevada – 35 of them in this glittering gambling mecca.

Despite health officials directing every citizen to practice social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19, more than a dozen Strip properties — 10 of them under the ownership of Caesars Entertainment  — remain open. 

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