Viva Las Vegas … Almost

My wife, daughter and I usually drive over to Las Vegas two or three times a year.

We don’t go to gamble. We go for three things – the concerts, the dinners and the pools.

Concerts and most of the shows have yet to return in full force.

But otherwise, as we saw last week, Las Vegas has completely reopened.

Masks are still mandatory, even outside, and the “science” of mask wearing is as nuts as it is around the country.

You have to wear a mask when you enter a restaurant. But the moment you sit down you can take it off. Then a food server wearing a mask takes your order.

If you get up and go to the restroom, you have put your mask back on. Then you return to your table and can take off the mask.

It doesn’t make much sense to me – scientific or common.

Maybe Dr. Fauci can explain how the virus can’t get you when you are mask-less at your table.

Last week the mask theater at our hotel pool was even crazier.

The three of us have all been vaccinated. But sitting in our space by the pool in the burning sun, with no one within 15 or 20 feet of us, we still had to keep our masks on.

That mandate was enforced by the hotel’s mask police, who got paid $11 an hour to walk around in greenish T-shirts carrying a box of masks. If you didn’t have your own mask, they gave you one to put on.

Meanwhile, if we walked 10 feet to the pool and got in the water, we could take our masks off.

In the pool were 45 people we’ve never met, all mask-less.

A dozen stood in the pool for hours drinking, talking, laughing, and, by the way, never putting on their masks and climbing out to go to the bathroom.

So, based on my observations, am I to conclude there was no coronavirus swimming in the pool, but if I was just three feet from the water without a mask I could catch it?

Even if I’m as fully vaccinated as President Biden’s dog? Dr. Fauci, are you still there?

We better learn to laugh at this irrational mask stuff, I guess, because we’re going to be wearing them for a long, long time.

The after-effects of the lockdowns were evident elsewhere in Vegas.

For instance, after we got dressed up to go out to eat dinner inside a good restaurant – something you still can’t do in Los Angeles – we went to the hotel front door to catch a cab.

But there was no cab.

Instead of the usual line of 20 taxis waiting for riders, there was a line of 20 riders waiting for a cab, one of which would show up every three or four minutes.

It was the same inconvenient story after we ate at Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar. At 10 p.m. on a Friday night there were no cabs and the closest Uber was 45 minutes away.

When the owner of Ferraro’s saw us waiting, he gave us a lift back to our hotel.

On the way he explained that a huge percentage of taxi and Uber drivers – like their counterparts in other cities – initially had stopped driving last spring because 90 percent of their business was crushed by the lockdowns.

But they are still not driving because they are being paid upwards of a $1,000 a week in state and federal unemployment benefits for not working.

I don’t blame the drivers.

When I was very young my father told me what his father had told him back in the 1920s — “Son, when the government starts paying you not to work, why work?”

When the government stops paying them so well, those off-duty Uber drivers sitting by the pool with me last week will go back to work and life will return a little closer to what passes for normal in “The City of Lost Wages.”

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