U.S COVID-19 Cases Increase As 2021 WSOP Draws Closer
The US government this week announced that it intends to continue to impose a European travel ban after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. This comes as the WSOP prepares to hold its live festival this September at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Over the past week, the US recorded an average of more than 50,000 daily cases of COVID-19, a massive increase on the figures recorded over the 4th of July weekend, and the highest since May, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the US and across the world is mainly brought about by the new Delta variant which is more contagious and potentially more deadly than the other COVID-19 strains.
The US government is currently ramping up its vaccination efforts in a bid to have everyone fully vaccinated. But misinformation and vaccine hesitancy among Americans pose a huge challenge to these efforts.
WSOP Not Changing Fall Series Dates
The US government’s announcement to extend its European travel ban comes as bad news for European players who were keen on traveling to the U.S to play at the 2021 WSOP. However, the ban doesn’t necessarily prohibit them from entering the US. Those hailing from Europe could still enter the country, provided they first travel to a non-restricted nation and stay there for two weeks (or 14 days) before travelling to the US.
This means that the 2021 WSOP is still expected to attract non-US players, including those from travel-restricted countries.
The last live WSOP festival before the pandemic, which took place in 2019, pulled in a significant number of players from overseas, including Europe. The Main Event in particular attracted a total of 8,569 entries, 80 percent of that traveled from non-restricted countries. But the final table included three players hailing from jurisdictions currently included in the US travel ban.
In the state of Nevada, where the 2021 WSOP is due to take place, COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise. In fact, it is among 10 states with the highest number of cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. Casinos in the state, including those in Las Vegas are now back to imposing mandatory wearing of face masks, regardless of vaccination status.
But the WSOP is sticking to its plans for the upcoming festival. Online satellites are currently running on WSOP.com for players in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The WSOP is also actively looking for dealers and floor staff to join the team in the live series which is just two months away.