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Wynn to close Las Vegas properties for 2 weeks

Updated March 15, 2020 - 5:54 pm

Wynn Resorts Ltd. is set to close its two Las Vegas properties beginning 6 p.m. Tuesday to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The closure is expected to last two weeks, after which Wynn “will evaluate the situation,” according to a Sunday statement from the company.

All full-time Wynn Las Vegas and Encore employees will continue to be paid during the shutdown, and a limited number of employees and management will remain at the properties to secure and maintain the facility.

The announcement came shortly after a Sunday afternoon address from Gov. Steve Sisolak in which he ordered the closure of all K-12 public schools in Nevada beginning Monday to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

Wynn had already made plans to close its poker room and race and sportsbook earlier this week, and began temporarily cancelling all large entertainment gatherings — including buffets, nightclubs and theater presentations — in its Las Vegas and Boston resorts this weekend.

On Friday, Wynn CEO Matt Maddox sent a video assuring workers their jobs are safe as the industry experiences a downturn from the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier that day, MGM Resorts International announced layoffs and furloughs.

Wynn Macau and its attached Encore Macau were two of the properties in the Chinese territory to temporarily halt operations during a 15-day casino shutdown. Its property in Massachusetts, the Encore Boston Harbor, is set to close to guests by 6 am EST Sunday.

MGM is also closing at all Las Vegas properties “until further notice” effective Tuesday. The company’s announcement came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance late Sunday afternoon recommending organizers cancel or postpone in-person events with more than 50 people in the U.S. for the next 8 weeks.

MGM had already begun taking steps to negate economic hardships from the coronavirus as occupancy rates 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 workers at MGM and Wynn.

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.

Other properties, including 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.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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