3 Popular Reopened Tourist Destinations You'll Definitely Want to Avoid

Go ahead and scratch these beloved attractions off your list.

As the U.S. reopens its economy and tourist attractions welcome their first visitors post-lockdown, it's tempting to get swept up in the excitement and throw caution to the wind. But as The Daily Beast reported this week, there's good reason to be discerning about your summer plans, especially if you're considering more popular destinations.

Though many high-traffic tourist attraction are probably giving you pause at the moment, three stood out as being particularly laden with coronavirus risk. Situated in Nevada, Florida, and Texas, all three popular tourist spots have reopened, despite surges in their respective states' coronavirus numbers over the last two weeks. Read on to discover which destinations you can officially scrap from your upcoming travel itinerary. And to find out which businesses should keep their doors closed longest, check out the 6 Places That Should Open Last, According to MIT Researchers.

The Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas sign on the strip

Casinos are hotbeds for infection on a good day, so you can imagine how easily germs might spread by way of poker chips during a viral pandemic. The Las Vegas Strip is reopening despite a recent increase in coronavirus cases in Nevada, and The Daily Beast's initial report from inside of those casinos reveal that many are neglecting to follow coronavirus guidelines. In fact, The New York Times recently described Las Vegas casinos as "cruise ships on land."

Even more troubling, unlike other states, Nevada doesn't include out-of-state visitors in its coronavirus case counts. Given that tourists outnumber residents 20-to-1, this means you can safely assume their reported numbers are much higher than reported.

On top of that, drunk, sweaty revelers are unlikely the most prudent in a pandemic—and that your chances of getting coronavirus will soar on the Strip. And to make sure you get an accurate COVID-19 test results, check out This Is Exactly When You Should Get Tested For Coronavirus.

Texas Rodeos

Cowboy riding horse at rodeo

As of this Friday, Texas recorded over 83,000 coronavirus cases, and over the past two weeks, the state has seen a notable uptick in transmission and hospitalizations. But that's only part of why the opening of Texas rodeos feels so very precarious.

According to The Texas Tribune, in March, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo pressed on, amid warnings of the coronavirus threat. Over 2.5 million people attended over the course of the 20-day event, and it was only shut down after confirmation of community spread. Though upcoming rodeos are likely to be less densely populated by design, their stadium seating and lack of previous caution mean you can nix Texas rodeos from your list for the foreseeable future.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios Orlando

When Universal Studios Orlando reopened this week, many visitors were pleased to see that the theme park had taken some visible precautions: masks, temperature checks, and blue circles on the ground that help maintain a six-foot distance between guests standing in line.

But theme parks present more fundamental challenges that can't easily be solved—for example, the sheer traffic on popular rides, which increases the likelihood of touch-based transmission. Given that Florida is currently experiencing a two-week rise in cases with over 70,000 cases to date, it's a risky proposition to assume their precautions are stringent enough to withstand a crowd. And for more changes you'll see amusement parks, check out This One Thing Could Change Disney and Other Theme Parks Forever.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more