Las Vegas Visitors Armed With Apps Confident Over COVID-19 Risk, Analysts Predict
Travelers, as well as trade show and convention attendees headed for Las Vegas, are likely to be more confident about showing up at properties equipped with health data stored on their cell phones. The apps can show a range of information, from negative COVID-19 test results to coronavirus vaccine records.
That could lead to an increasing number of conventions, trade shows, entertainment, or other public events held in Clark County, sector analysts predict.
For instance, the Venetian Las Vegas is collaborating with Alclear Inc. on its Clear app Health Pass. It likely will be used at Sands Expo and Convention Center and the Venetian Congress Center, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Health Pass shows a green or red screen to alert staff if someone meets criteria for entry, or requires additional screening. Organizers need to pay a licensing fee to use Health Pass at a large event.
Apps Provide Assurances for Large Gatherings
“In general, this app is a smart idea,” says Emma Boswell Dean, an assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Miami Business School.
“If it allows organizations to verify temperature checks, negative COVID-19 test results, and vaccinations, it can allow people to congregate in a safer way,” Dean told Casino.org when asked about the technology. “People may not be willing to attend conventions and other large gatherings without assurances of their safety, and so these apps may also help increase consumer confidence.”
Travelers carrying health records is not necessarily new. “We’ve had paper versions of vaccine verification in the past, most notably in the form of the World Health Organization’s Yellow Card for international travel,” Dean said.
But paper verifications can be forged or faked more easily, Dean said.
There are also other new versions of electronic apps that show test results. One is CommonPass. It is targeted toward the travel industry.
Another option is IBM’s Digital Health Pass. It uses blockchain technology via an encrypted digital wallet on a smartphone. There is no need to store information that could be a target for hackers, IBM explained in a statement.
Also, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass mobile app stores information on airline passengers’ health. Already, 22 airlines signed up for trials of the IATA Travel Pass. The iOS and Android launches are planned for this month.
In addition, Reviv Global has launched the Heliix Health Passport mobile app in Las Vegas. It uses an encrypted code to display test results before visitors gain entrance to an event, such as a convention. Or it can be used to enter a restaurant, nightclub, or other gathering.
Via Reviv’s three Las Vegas COVID-19 rapid test sites — at the MGM Grand, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and The Venetian or other approved venues can send results to the mobile app.
But Dean warns there are privacy risks with these apps. They can provide businesses confidential health information.
Also, there can be disparities given that some consumers have easier access to technology, COVID-19 tests, or vaccines than others.
Associations Look Forward to Live Events
Still, the presence of the apps generally are seen as a positive trend among the convention and meeting sectors.
Any investment that further enhances health and safety protocols is a good thing,” Lori Nelson-Kraft, senior vice president of communications for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) told Casino.org. Las Vegas is eager to welcome back business travelers and conventions, the LVCVA adds.
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) confirms it “has heard about many venues and organizations using apps like this. But we have not made any decisions on, if we will implement anything similar, at any of our events in the future,” spokesman Chris Vest told Casino.org. “In general, safeguards put in place to ensure public health and safety at live events are welcomed.” ASAE anticipates a full return to face-to-face meetings in the near future.
Safety remains a priority for the large events sector, Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council, told Casino.org.
“Event organizers, event venues, and the attendees all share a responsibility when the science says it’s safe to meet face-to-face again,” Calvert adds.
As of last month, Nevada gaming properties and other venues could use up to 50 percent of a room’s capacity. That is for trade shows, conventions, gambling, and entertainment.
Audiences of over 250 people mean a safety plan needs to be submitted to the state Department of Business and Industry. In May, local government will take over from the state to approve larger meetings.
The Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) continue to supervise operations at state casinos.
Also, starting on Monday, COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to all Nevada residents who are 16 years old or older. As of last Wednesday, there were 304,112 COVID-19 cases and 5,256 deaths reported in Nevada.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people who have been given complete vaccines can travel within the US without getting tests for coronavirus or going into quarantine.
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