Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was brought to light a couple months ago, the rate of reported cases in the United States have continuously increased, enabling the government to take required action. In the state of Nevada where the Entertainment Capital of the World is situated, a few persons have already tested positive for the virus with over a hundred patients undergoing Public Health Supervision. Given the situation, it is no doubt necessary for most establishments to temporarily close down to help contain the infectious disease.
All Las Vegas MGM Hotels and Casinos for Temporary Closure
Earlier this week, MGM Resorts International announced that it will be temporarily suspending its operations at all Las Vegas properties until further notice. The global hospitality and entertainment company runs the following hotels: Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor, New York-New York, Excalibur, and Park MGM while also owning 50 percent of CityCenter, which includes Aria and Vdara. As such, casino operations on these establishments are set to close this Monday with hotel operations to follow thereafter. The company also advised that it will not be taking reservations prior to May 1, 2020 and will continue processing accommodations for arrivals beginning April 2, 2020.
A statement from Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said the temporary closures are for “the good of our employees, guests and communities.”
“It is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression,” Murren said. “We will plan to reopen our resorts as soon as it (is) safe to do so and we will continue to support our employees, guests, and communities in every way that we can during this period of closure.”
The announcement was carried out in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidance recommending organizers cancel or postpone in-person events with more than 50 people in the U.S. for the next 8 weeks. With at least two confirmed cases of MGM employees with COVID-19, it was necessary for the brand to adopt extreme measures relayed for the wellbeing of the community.
“It is anticipated that it will remain closed for two weeks, at which time the status will be re-evaluated,” a statement from the company said.
Wynn Follows Suit of Temporary Closure
Wynn Resorts Ltd, following MGM Resorts International’s shutdown closely, has also recently announced the temporary closure of its two Las Vegas properties effective 6pm this Tuesday. The closure is expected to last two weeks, after which Wynn will evaluate the situation, according to a Sunday statement from the company.
In order to keep our employees and guests safe, we have decided to close Wynn Las Vegas and Encore on Tuesday, March 17, at 6 pm. We anticipate that we will be closed for two weeks, after which we will evaluate the situation. Visit https://t.co/ZVdFo0wUMc for regular updates.
— Wynn Las Vegas (@WynnLasVegas) March 16, 2020
In efforts to curb the spread of the virus, Wynn had already arranged to close its poker room and race and sportsbook earlier this week, and has begun cancelling all large entertainment gatherings including buffets, nightclubs and theater presentations for the meantime. Fortunately, Wynn CEO Matt Maddox assured its workers that their jobs are safe despite the industry suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, with the company committed to compensate all full-time Wynn Las Vegas and Encore employees amid the shutdown. Moreover, the suspension of operations will result in a limited number of employees and management to remain at the properties for security and maintenance of the facility.
Deep Concern for the Workers of a Full Industry
The effects of the widespread novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently reaching a huge percentage of the world, affecting the overall state of numerous countries. With the threat of catching the deadly disease increasing, businesses in highly infected regions are left with no choice but to halt operations for the benefit of the general public. Casinos in most areas are not an exception with many temporarily closing down, in efforts to contain the spread of the virus. With that said, the impact to the local economy will be immeasurable given that the city’s income heavily relies on tourism demand and the like.
With a $6.6 billion gambling industry of 42 million visitors annually, the Sin City is facing its most pressing crisis since the September 11 attacks which led to a drop in gambling revenue. Businesses wherein the city is famously known for are shutting down indefinitely, resulting in the majority of the workers in the service industry concerned for their careers.
Responding to the ongoing slowdown in demand, MGM Resorts International’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Bill Hornbuckle released a letter addressed to its employees announcing workforce reductions and furloughs to begin next week. “These decisions are never made lightly,” Hornbuckle wrote, “and we deeply regret the hardship it will place on these individuals and their families.” The letter detailed that laid off workers will maintain their benefits up until June 30, 2020 and how layoffs in some areas of business operations most immediately impacted by the pandemic have already begun.
Similar to MGM, Caesars Entertainment Corp. has already begun laying off personnel as shown in a documentation obtained by the Review-Journal. A Planet Hollywood employee reportedly received a call from a manager Sunday afternoon saying their entire department would be laid off, followed by a documentation advising their employment status would be changed from full-time to laid off. When asked about the document’s legitimacy on the other hand, Caesars spokesperson Richard Broome said he was “not able to comment at this time.”
In this period of uncertainty, many are worried about the loss of income which enables them to provide for their families, pay their bills and obtain medical benefits. Members of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board (LVCVA) however, guarantee the welfare of the local community with reassurance that the situation will remain under control.
“This came quickly, it came unexpected, but we have a track record here in Las Vegas that we’re prepared from the county standpoint. We have a very conservative budget, so we’ll be fine,” says Larry Brown, County Commissioner and head of LVCVA.
LVCVA Chief, Steve Hill, also adds “Those revenue streams are going to be hit pretty significantly. We don’t know exactly what that number is going to be, but it will be meaningful over that shorter period of time”.