Newkirk’s Notes

Access Vegas Founder Ted NewkirkHello From Las Vegas! – So… As The Vegas Turns. Masks, bars closed, COVID-19 rates going through the roof. If you simply read the headlines (or what we in this business call “fear porn”), or buy into all of the “don’t know anything about Vegas, reporting from 2000 miles away national media, and/or crazy/incorrect online group rumors, you probably really have no clue what is going on.

So, let’s drill down to some hard data and boots-on-the-ground info and get you up to speed. This way, you can decide whether you want to visit in a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or “I’m still going to wait and see”.

That’s why we’re member-supported: While we run various hotel room specials which you may (or may not) wish to take advantage of, our main source of support is membership dues. Not the few pennies-on-the-dollar we make if you book a room through one of the offers we highlight! (Not that doing so isn’t appreciated).

So, let’s dive in. Here’s what we cover in our current Supporting Members July 19, 2020 issue:

Nevada COVID-19 Deaths – For some reason, this vital statistic (after all, that’s why we’re all worried), isn’t getting much talk. Should it? What are the real numbers? What does it mean?

Nevada COVID-19 Cases Going Through The Roof – Yes, they are. Over 1000 per day for the past few days. Isn’t that major cause for alarm? What’s different in Nevada from the other 49 states, why is it driving this number of, and what does it mean to potential visitors?

Hospitalizations – Are all the ICU beds full in Las Vegas? Are we on the verge of people dying due to lack of capacity? While we won’t do the deep dive here that we do for our Supporting (Paid) Members, keep reading as we’ll hit on a couple of important points in just a minute.

“You Are Sending Visitor Home Sick!” – The number of people who tested positive outside of their area, and who had been on a trip somewhere, actually has been tracked. A few days ago, the number came out regarding how many people who have visited Las Vegas have come home and tested positive for COVID-19. (Whether they caught it here or not).

Take a guess? 14,000? 3000? 9000? 27,000? (Bueller? Anyone?)

We have the real (government) data, and we break it down for our members so they can decide whether they want to come next week, or wait until next year.

Are The Bars Really Closed, Can You Get A Drink? – When masks became mandatory, it appears they pulled every state employee (qualified to do so) to go out and check compliance. Which was so-so to begin with, so the state made it very clear that there would be hell to pay. Starting with casinos who would be facing a possible $130k fine for not keeping their guests in compliance. (Don’t assume that is chump-change to them. It isn’t exactly a seriously profitable sector right now).

After a week or so, casino compliance was very solid, with only Aria and Park MGM out-of-compliance. (MGM Resorts has since been on a “mask up” blitz, including videos featuring prominent statues like the MGM Lion and Lady Liberty wearing masks).

The bars? After a slow start, they had hit 80% compliance. So… the governor said that fines and closures would start to be swift to those 20% not in compliance, right? We’re almost there. Let’s just fix the small portion of issues which still exist. Minor corrections can equal perfection. Smart, right?

Not Governor Grumpy! From Day 1 of this whole ordeal, he’s verbiage when talking to the state has been that of a kindergarten teacher. And, if little Jimmy is a bad boy, the entire class will pay for it.

This was no exception. He ordered every single bartop in the state’s most populated counties to be shut down. Casinos, bar and grills, restaurants, dive bars… if you have a bartop, nobody will be sitting at it.

What does this mean for YOU, attending a casino here in Las Vegas? It depends on your habits. You can play all day on the casino floor. And, for those of you die-hard bartop video poker players like myself, casinos do offer VP on the floor. And, you WILL get your comped cocktails delivered by the waitress. While policy differs from casino to casino, and walk-up bars (think Fremont Street frozen boozy slushy bars) are basically closed, they are providing a way for you to order drinks and get them brought to you.

Also, an astute Facebook Membership Group regular pointed out that there is no shortage of beer, wine, and liquor at the CVS, Walgreens, and the like! Those of us who live here are jaded to the fact that we can get a bottle of whiskey at any hour of the day, any day of the week, at any 24/7 grocery, pharmacy, or package store. Those rules have NOT changed.

Also, many of the great restaurants are open. With social distancing. So, if you have a yearning for some Wolfgang Puck (or others), knock yourself out. Speaking of…

Buffets – Many predicted that COVID-19 would be the death of the Las Vegas buffet. And, while a small number of them — ones you never really give thought to in most cases — may be bowing out, the well-known and liked buffets at both Wynn and Cosmopolitan are up and running. Each with a slightly different operation.

We break both of them down so that our members know what to expect.

Member Patrick M. of New York says of our current Members Issue:

Very good newsletter this week. Very informative! You covered a LOT of ground

“Who Cares. I Don’t Need Your Membership. I Have Google!” – Oh really, Mr. or Miss Smarty Pants?

Let’s have some “factual fun” and compare a major national news story from last week to a local news story from a very trusted outlet:

Story #1, National News Story

‘Overwhelmed and Terrified’: Las Vegas’ Reopening Backfires Terribly

“I would say in the last month we’ve been completely overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and our hospital is running out of space,” one Las Vegas emergency room doctor, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of professional retaliation, told The Daily Beast on Friday. “Not only are we overwhelmed and terrified, but based on the numbers for the rest of the country, it’s only going to get worse for us.”

Note: This story was dated July 17, 2020 by The Daily Beast out of New York City.

Story #1, Local News Story

Las Vegas hospitals add beds, staff to handle spiking COVID cases

“We’re not at danger of being overrun,” said Dan McBride, chief medical officer for the Valley Health System, which operates six hospitals in the valley.

University Medical Center, whose intensive care unit was 95 percent occupied as of Wednesday, added 87 beds by putting under-utilized space to new uses, CEO Mason VanHouweling said.

Note: This story was dated July 19, 2020 (two days later) by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Which is not only the largest newspaper in the state of Nevada, but is the newspaper of record.

Even if you are pretty hard-core about following Las Vegas news (which means you probably saw the first story), did you see the local, more factual stories?

We don’t miss a thing. Which means for helping us stay independent and not beholden to casino advertising with the price of a “cup of coffee” per month (less than $2.50), our members actually ARE the most informed and smartest visitors to Las Vegas!

You spend THOUSANDS $$$ on your Las Vegas visit. What we do is give you an opportunity to “hedge that bet” and really know what’s up so that you can not only finally decide when you want to visit, but so that (under normal circumstances), you’ll be heads and shoulders above all of the other visitors around out.

Coupon Code and 60-Day Money Back Guarantee Still Valid

By visiting and using the Coupon Code 5NOW, you can still knock the membership price for an entire year to under $30. (Less than $2.50 per month). That is quite a bit less than dinner at some of the nicer buffets anymore! And, our Members find that they not only save more than that with our guidance and tips, but they have their best visits every. Why? Because the are FINALLY and ACTUALLY “In The Know”!

The clock is ticking on this offer. Countless members pay full price and feel that it is worth every penny (and then some). Spend a few bucks to hedge your bet on Vegas now:

Coupon Code 5NOW Saves You $5 Instantly (Give It A Try)

So, Is The Current Vegas Worth It? – That’s your call. Not mine. We can let you know how things are going, get down to the true numbers that aren’t making the headlines, and similar. However, only you know how your health is. How your age is. Whether you like the fact that masking up is being so strongly enforced, or you’ll never travel anywhere unless/until you can go mask-free. And, any other number of factors.

Back when this whole thing started, I did suggest a pending side-benefit of the current situation which many visitors are now sounding off on:

It is a somewhat different Vegas, but it is also a more-relaxed, less crowded Vegas. Very few of you will ever have the opportunity to visit a week before Christmas on a weekday, when things are the slowest of the year. And, in reality, it isn’t much unlike now. Shows are often shut down, things are closed for maintenance, not all dining options may be at full force and full hours.

But, you get elbow room! Less people. Shorter lines. Less stress. Some of you may wish to take that into consideration as well.

Hope You Are Enjoying This Issue!

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor

Las Vegas Shows

Human Nature’s Musical Revue won’t Return to the Venetian

Just a few weeks into the COVID-caused shutdown of Las Vegas Strip production shows, musical residencies and all live entertainment, it became tragically clear that some of those shows would not return to their showrooms. Today the entertainment scene got its first dose of this kind of bad news.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Dining

Las Vegas Restaurants Have Reopened, With New Protocols, Challenges and Dishes to Love

A brunch for a friend’s birthday brought me out of the shutdown. I’d been stringently following social distancing guidelines, but a Saturday meal for a special occasion seemed like a good first step in venturing out again. We met at Craft Kitchen in Henderson, which, pre-pandemic, did a brisk brunch business. There was often a wait for a table.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Hotels

Circa To Be 1st New Hotel-Casino To Open Since Lucky Dragon

Derek Stevens was standing in the parking lot of a Las Vegas office building a few years ago, waiting for the foreclosure auction of a faltering resort: the Lucky Dragon.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Tours And Attractions

6 Dreamy Campsites Near Las Vegas That Will Let You Escape The City This Summer – Sleeping Under The Stars Is The Best Way To Catch Some Z’s.

If you want to recharge your metaphorical batteries this summer, there are some fantastic spots to check out all around the city. These dreamy campsites near Las Vegas offer a break from the concrete jungle and let you get back to nature.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Members Mania

Note From Ted:

Members Mania is a regular feature for our Supporting (Paid) Members. Membership includes our “Your Guy In Vegas” feature, where you can reach out to myself and our paid staff of experts with your specific Vegas questions. We don’t have “canned” answers. We’ll ask you for some details pertaining you your wants and needs. Then, answer accordingly.


This is in response to a Members Facebook story post we made about this article (which was also posted in a previous newsletter issue): Elon Musk’s Boring Company finishes digging Las Vegas tunnels 32 – The city’s Convention and Visitors Authority is still planning to open the Loop in January

I’m not too knowledgeable about this. I, also, wasn’t even aware of this underground system. So.. its not a subway.. so what is it.. people mover? Do people utilize it now and will they in the future? 

Elon Musk has grand ideas.. but some of them are impractical or expensive to implement. Is this another “extend the monorail” idea (from MGM to Mandalay to McCarran) or the “High Speed Train” from LA to LV?!?

Patrick Magee


Ted Responds:

We decided not to talk about it until it was a thing. One thing we steer away from is “reporting” on every crazy scheme that people come up with related to Las Vegas. My policy — in most cases — is to give you info and data that is actionable for a pending or future (yet to be planned) visit to see us. Or, ideas which are really, really plausible and have had significant and ongoing work or study on them.

– It is a tunnel system where cars come by every couple of minutes to transport a handful of people to the next stop. Yes… The Jetsons has come to life!

-The first part of it was finished just a bit prior to Covid. It is operational.

– Extension or expansion will most likely be based on how it does. It is also based on the ability to dig where. The soil under Las Vegas is actually “cement” (caliche) in much of the area.

– The Monorail extension to Mandalay Bay, while a solid idea because of the stadium and number of events it will hold, is not yet funded.

However, of interest is that the Convention and Visitors Authority is looking into buying it. Ostensibly to make sure it is around to serve the Convention Center expansion.

The thought of running it to the airport is still riddled with issues. Primarily, it would have to come down to ground level along Tropicana as the runways butt right up against the road, and putting anything elevated at the end of an major airport runway is a really lousy idea!

Nobody is developing ANYTHING around a high-speed rail line until it becomes reality. As it is right now, the CA high speed rail line ours was supposed to connect with California’s “might be finished the 5th of never” high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

To be fair, permission to build the high speed rail line along the right-of-way of I-15 (the freeway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles) has been secured. So, I’m not trying to completely be a “Debbie Downer”.

In fact, I love trains! And, the concept of running a regular train on the existing regular freight lines between Las Vegas and Los Angeles still gets kicked around here and there.

Unlike the high-speed line, which would currently end a 90 minute drive from Los Angeles, this would go all the way in. Which means it would also connect to existing rail service to the Central California wine country, the beautiful seaside town of Santa Barbara, Orange County, and San Diego. Much of that line running directly along the ocean with stunning views.

And frankly, a regular rail connection from here to Los Angeles could simply survive on our international visitors.

BNSF 7817 - Goffs CA - 13.09.2015

Why? 1. They are used to rail travel. 2. The 8 hour trip to Los Angeles (via rail), while longer than a car trip, is a whole lot more restful and fun, and 3. Many Europeans are respectful of and have high interest in American’s “Route 66”. The freight lines parallel Route 66 for a significant part of the route. Through otherwise untouched rugged desert and mountains.

We have answers to your Vegas questions!

But, you have to ask the questions.

Email us at, and let us know, what YOU want to know!

Las Vegas Gambling

Boyd Gaming Customers Score Multiple Jackpots This Month

Since reopening on June 4, Boyd Gaming has welcomed back its southern Nevada customers in style, awarding nine jackpots of $10,000 or more throughout the Las Vegas Valley so far this month.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Sports

‘It Was Different’ – Inside Boxing’s Hectic, yet Monotonous, Return to Las Vegas

As main-eventer Jessie Magdaleno started his walk late Thursday night, he turned a corner and saw the ring. This is usually the moment when he hears the crowd, when the energy pumps through his body. Instead, he heard nothing.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

Las Vegas Real Estate

Other Las Vegas News

Elon Musk’s Las Vegas Dreams Are Expanding

Elon Musk’s Loop transportation project is gaining a little bit more momentum in Las Vegas. Less than a month ago, Musk’s tunnel company Boring Co. said it had finished digging a pair of tunnels that will link the Las Vegas Convention Center buildings. Now, two Las Vegas Strip hotels are making a bid to be part of the planned transit network.

Full Story/Details/Info/Video

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July 19, 2020 ISSN: 1529-2770 About Us   Privacy Policy
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