Updated: Las Vegas Sands to close Venetian, Palazzo on the Strip Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · March 17, 2020 at 4:40 pm The Venetian and Palazzo, two of the largest resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, were in the process of closing Tuesday after Las Vegas Sands Corp., decided to shut down the properties due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The closures followed similar actions by Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International, and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The action has left more than a dozen of the Strip’s gaming halls dark for an indefinite time frame as the nation’s gaming capital deals with the expanding pandemic. Sands said the company was “committed” to paying its employees while the buildings are closed. “No layoffs or furloughs are being contemplated” and the closure will not impact health care eligibility, the company stated. The shutdown was a 180-degree turn by the casino giant, which is majority-owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a mega-donor to the Republican party and close supporter of President Donald Trump. On Sunday, after MGM and Wynn announced their casino shutdowns, a company spokesman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal there were no plans to close either resort. In the statement, the company said closures would last at least through April 1 and were being done “out of an abundance of caution and in line with recent guidance from federal and state governments.” The process of closing the properties was starting immediately and would be completed “as soon as possible.” The Sands Expo and Convention Center, which is attached to the two resorts, is also being closed. On Sunday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said he wasn’t going to order casinos in Nevada to close, a move undertaken by governors in several states. However, guidelines for casinos continuing to operate were instituted. “We all know, gaming is the lifeblood of Nevada’s economy and a source of financial support for so many of our citizens and their families,” Sisolak said during a press conference. “But to protect the public health and safety of Nevadans and visitors, I strongly support any of our properties that make the difficult decision to close to the public.” The company also announced it would donate $250,000 to several local community groups. “These are clearly challenging times for our country and our community,” Las Vegas Sands President Rob Goldstein said in a statement. “We are in the hospitality and entertainment business and our team members work very hard to provide a great experience for the thousands of people who come through our doors daily. However, our most important commitment is the one we have made to the health and safety of our team members and guests. “Right now, the best way to fulfill that commitment is by asking people to not come to work. While we hope this closure is a short-term necessity, we are realistic it may be a prolonged event.” Goldstein said the company did not want employees and their families concerned about their jobs, income or health care. “Our team members and their families will rightly be concerned about their health and safety,” Goldstein said. “Like we have done in the past, we are fully prepared to support our team members over an extended period should it be needed.” Shares of Las Vegas Sands closed at $40.86 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, up $1.26 or 3.18%. The company’s shares have tumbled from a 52-week high of $74.29. In February, Las Vegas Sands closed its properties in Macau for 15 days during to the coronavirus outbreak in China. They hotel-casinos have since reopened. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.