Casinos in Nevada that had chosen to remain open amid the global coronavirus crisis were forced to bring their operations to an abrupt halt after Gov. Steve Sisolak, in an unprecedented move, ordered the statewide closure of casinos and all other non-essential businesses.
Slot machines across the Silver State turned dark at midnight Tuesday. At noon today, Nevada’s more than 400 casinos are, too, set to be shut for 30 days.
Several major casino companies announced the closure of their properties in the days leading up to Gov. Sisolak’s order, including Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International.
Wynn said Sunday night that it would shutter its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore resorts on the Strip for at least 14 days in the face of the Covid-19 spread, while MGM closed its Strip properties for an unspecified period of time.
But others, including gaming and hospitality powerhouses Las Vegas Sands and Caesars Entertainment Corp., said that they would keep their casino properties on and off the Las Vegas Strip open and that they have upped their sanitation efforts to help contain the spread of the dangerous virus that has claimed one life in Nevada so far and at least 108 lives nationwide.
Caesars Closes Properties Across North America, Las Vegas Sands to Pay Employees during Closure
Following news about the imminent closure of all Nevada casinos, Caesars issued a statement on its official website Tuesday night to inform guests and staff that it would temporarily shut down all its properties across North America.
The company’s CEO, Tony Rodio, said that “it has become clear that we must take this extreme action to help contain the virus and protect the safety and well-being of our team members and guests.”
In a letter sent to employees, Caesars said that all full-time, part-time, and regularly scheduled employees would continue to be paid and that their benefit eligibility would not be affected for “up to two weeks.”
Las Vegas Sands, too, issued a statement regarding the closure of its the Venetian and the Palazzo resorts in Las Vegas, saying that its decision was in line “with recent guidelines from federal and state governments.”
The company also noted that it will be paying its team members during the period of closure and that “no layoffs or furloughs are being contemplated and the closure will not impact health care eligibility.”
Station Casinos, Penn National Gaming, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will, too, pay staff during the closure period.
While some gaming and hospitality companies are willing to pay their employees during the statewide shutdown, other workers in the sector would not be so lucky, which could bring serious financial issues to many Nevada families.
Please, Stay Home for Nevada.
In his Tuesday address to Nevada residents, Gov. Sisolak said that his order will cause a lot of distress, but it is right thing to do to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The state’s top official went on:
I ask you: What are you willing to do to save your own life and the lives of those you love? We absolutely must take this step for every Nevadan’s health and safety. Please take this seriously. Lives are at stake, and with each passing day, this pandemic is growing. Please, stay home for Nevada.
The Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents more than 60,000 hospitality workers across Nevada, said Tuesday that it supports Gov. Sisolak’s decision to order the closure of multiple non-essential properties and that “health and safety are priorities as we face this global crisis.”
Following the announcement about the statewide closure of casinos, Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association urged the federal government to “act swiftly to bring relief to our friends, neighbors, and colleagues in Nevada and all across America whose livelihoods have been severely impacted by these hard but necessary actions.”