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MGM Resorts to temporarily close buffets amid coronavirus fears

Updated March 10, 2020 - 9:33 pm

Seven Strip buffets are among the first local restaurants affected by the coronavirus scare that’s having repercussions throughout the travel and hospitality industries.

On Tuesday, MGM Resorts International announced it will temporarily close the buffets at Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective this Sunday. The statement announcing the closure said the changes “are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.”

The company would not comment, however, on whether the decision was based on hotel occupancy, the nature of buffet dining or other factors. But at least one other resort is taking steps to assure customers feel comfortable dining in a buffet setting.

Wynn Las Vegas has announced that, effective Wednesday, its buffet “will have stationed culinary staff at each food station to serve our guests, which eliminates the need for guests to touch serving utensils.” Additionally, Wynn stated that its team is “routinely cleaning all hard surfaces and have placed hand sanitizing stations at the entrance for guests to utilize prior to entry.”

When asked whether Caesars Entertainment is planning any changes to its buffets or other restaurant operations, the company issued a statement saying “Caesars buffets remain open and we are incorporating cleaning and hygiene protocols into the buffets as well as the rest of our operations across the company.”

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has released a statement saying, in part, “We are actively monitoring the situation while following guidance and recommendations from the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” It went on to say the resort “will continue to assess and make adjustments as needed.”

Representatives of The Strat, Station Casinos and The Venetian/Palazzo did not respond to inquiries about potential changes to their buffets or other restaurant operations, although neither The Venetian nor Palazzo operates a buffet.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian and Palazzo.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter and Instagram.

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