MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts to temporarily close more than a dozen Las Vegas Strip properties Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · March 16, 2020 at 7:00 am Two of the Strip’s largest casino operators – Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International – announced late Sunday they were temporarily shutting down more than a dozen gaming and non-gaming properties in the nation’s casino capital due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. The closures will begin Monday and be finalized by Tuesday. Wynn Resorts said it would cease operations at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore on at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The company’s statement did not include a comment from CEO Matt Maddox. The shutdown is expected to be in effect for two weeks, after which time the company “will evaluate the situation.” Wynn said a limited number of employees and management will remain at the resort to secure and maintain the facility. The company said it would pay all full-time Wynn and Encore employees during the closure. Nevada gaming authorities were informed of the decision, which was also made in consultation with Wynn’s board of directors, said company spokesman Michael Weaver. Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan said via email she was made aware of Wynn’s planned closures. MGM Resorts, the Strip’s largest casino operator, said it will temporarily suspend operations at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New-New York, CityCenter (which includes Aria and the non-gaming Vdara), Park MGM, Bellagio, The Mirage and the T-Mobile Arena. For MGM’s hotel-casinos, gaming operations will close on Monday, followed by hotel operations. MGM Grand Casino Las Vegas” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by planetc1 “Despite our commitment to dedicating additional resources for cleaning and promoting good health, while making difficult decisions to close certain aspects of our operations, it is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression,” MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement. “This is a time of uncertainty across our country and the globe and we must all do our part to curtail the spread of this virus,” Murren said. “We will plan to reopen our resorts as soon as it 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.” Also Sunday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, issued guidelines for casinos continuing to operate, which included just three chairs at table games and cleaning and sanitizing gaming machines a minimum of every two hours. The governor ordered that guests dining at all-you-can-eat buffets must be served by employees. “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. “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.” Sisolak also encouraged licensees “to do their best to protect the pay and benefits of their workforce during this difficult time.” So far, no other Las Vegas casino operators have said they would shut down Strip properties. Spokesmen for Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian and Palazzo, and locals casino operator Boyd Gaming told the Las Vegas Review-Journal they had no plans to shut down properties. MGM faced coronavirus issues MGM Resorts said last week a guest from New York who was staying at The Mirage and attending the Women of Power Summit tested positive for coronavirus. “Several of our employees have tested presumptive positive for coronavirus,” MGM President Bill Hornbuckle said in a letter Friday to MGM employees, company President Bill Hornbuckle said. “(We) expect there will be more in the coming days.” According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, one of the employees worked at Luxor and the other at the Wet Republic pool. “Their co-workers and those individuals who have had close prolonged contact have been notified,” according to the letter that was first reported by the VitalVegas.com website. Hornbuckle said the company is working with the health district. The moves by Wynn and MGM comes as many Strip resorts have cut back on operations after the coronavirus outbreak began to reduce visitation and travel to Las Vegas. Resorts have seen millions of dollars in potential gaming and non-gaming revenues erased in less than a week because of the viral outbreak. MGM Resorts instituted a temporary closure of its buffets, nightclubs and day clubs, spas, salons and fitness centers at its nine Strip properties. In Friday’s letter, Hornbuckle cited decreased business demand and said approximately 150 food and beverage outlets would close on a rolling basis. Wynn Resorts announced Thursday it was also closing its all-you-can-eat buffets, along with any other large entertainment gatherings such as nightclubs and theater shows. The resort also shut down its sportsbook and poker room. In a video sent to company employees Saturday, Maddox said the company would continue to pay employees during closures and assured them that their jobs were safe. The video was posted by several Las Vegas news outlets. Other casino markets On Saturday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to temporarily suspend operations at the state’s three casino properties, including Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield. The properties closed Sunday. On Friday, MGM closed MGM Northfield in Ohio, which is just outside Cleveland and Maryland’s governor ordered the shutdown of the state’s six casinos on Sunday, including MGM National Harbor. MGM Resorts said early Saturday morning that it was closing the Empire City Casino outside New York City through March 28. Last week, the company closed the adjacent Yonkers Raceway after John Brennan, a worker with the Standardbred Owners Association, contracted the virus and subsequently passed away. The 69-year-old Brennan was the state’s first death from COVID-19. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.