Las Vegas businesses start to see light at the end of the tunnel

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LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — It’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

On Monday, many local businesses were allowed to open at 50% capacity as the state eases up on Covid-19 restrictions.

That includes casinos, restaurants, gyms and museums.

Inside the Natural History Museum on Las Vegas Boulevard, it’s already made a difference.

Visitation is up.

“What does a T-Rex say?” asks Kerri Rocha, holding onto 22-month old Salem. “It goes, roar!”

The two are regulars at the museum.

“She loves it,” says Rocha. “She's obsessed with dinosaurs at this age.”

Rocha says her family has an annual pass.

And at 50% capacity, she feels comfortable visiting.

“We're a year into it now so it's starting to feel more normal,” she says. “We're starting to venture out as safely as we possibly can.”

Especially with all the safety protocols still in effect. Masks are required. And sanitation stations are spread throughout the building.

Executive Director Marilyn Gillespie says the museum was also able to add a number of new exhibits during the beginning of the pandemic, including the fossil of a cave bear.

“These types of bears went extinct 24,000 years ago,” explains Gillespie.

The display gives customers even more to learn about.

“The new capacity I think is giving people a sense of security to want to come out and visit,” says Gillespie.

Over in Henderson, employees of Bell’s BBQ are figuring out 50% capacity as well.

The last year has been a blur for this family-owned business.

“Stressful and unpredictable are two words I would say to describe it,” says owner Eric Lipsky. “When we started the restaurant we went for a certain feel, a certain vibe. People come in, they feel like family. We kind of lost that over the past year because people couldn't come in. So we're hoping to get that back.”

Lipsky says his business had to get creative when the pandemic first hit.

They even included a coveted roll of toilet paper with each to-go order.

Now dine-in customers are back. And the focus is entirely on the food.

“There’s a lot of regulars I haven’t seen in a while,” says Lipsky. “We’re so thankful we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”

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