Updated March 15, 2020 - 7:14 pm
MGM Resorts International announced Sunday it is temporarily suspending operations at all Las Vegas properties “until further notice” effective Tuesday.
Casino operations are set to close Monday, followed by hotel operations. The company will not be taking reservations prior to May 1.
The Las Vegas-based company operates the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor, New York-New York, Excalibur, and Park MGM. It also owns 50 percent of CityCenter, which includes Aria and Vdara.
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.”
MGM said more details on closing procedures, timelines and other issues related to the temporary suspension would be released soon.
In a Sunday letter addressed to MGM employees obtained by the Review-Journal, the company said full-time employees being furloughed or laid off will be paid two weeks from their last day of work, and all employees on the company’s health plan will maintain benefits through June 30.
The letter, signed by Murren, further stated that salaried employees “should expect to continue working until further notice.”
“We deeply regret the strain it will cause families and our community partners, and we will do all we can to mitigate it,” the letter reads. “When we do (reopen), we will be ready to welcome the world back to our properties.”
The announcement came shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance Sunday recommending organizers cancel or postpone in-person events with more than 50 people in the U.S. for the next 8 weeks.
MGM is also temporarily closing its MGM Northfield Park property in Ohio and its casinos in Maryland and Massachusetts. Following an order from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, MGM also announced Sunday evening it will temporarily suspend gaming operations at MGM Grand Detroit by 5:00 pm EST Monday, including all hotel, restaurant and bar operations.
“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.
MGM had already begun taking steps to negate economic hardships from the coronavirus as occupancy rates in Las Vegas began to nosedive. On Friday, the company told employees that it would begin furloughs and layoffs, beginning “in areas most immediately impacted by the slowdown in demand.”
There have been at least two confirmed cases of MGM employees with COVID-19: one who worked at Luxor, another at Wet Republic pool.
According to a statement from Culinary Union Local 226 spokeswoman Bethany Khan, the union has new proposals on the table for additional worker protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are about 60,000 workers in Las Vegas with union contracts, including MGM workers.
In a Saturday statement to members, the union said it would “continue to negotiate with casino and hotel employers … to protect workers during these difficult times.”
“We are working with the employers to identify any job opportunities and make sure they are made available to laid-off workers, including available work in other classifications if needed and if worker is qualified,” the statement reads.
Speaking to the media Sunday evening, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state’s unemployment fund is healthy for now and said he supports any property’s decision to remain open or to close.
In an earlier media briefing Sunday, Sisolak ordered the closure of all K-12 public schools in Nevada beginning Monday to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Wynn Resorts Ltd. subsequently announced plans to temporarily close its two Las Vegas properties.
Spokespeople for Caesars Entertainment Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Boyd Gaming Corp. told the Review-Journal they have no plans to close their Nevada casinos at this time. A spokesman for Red Rock Resorts did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.