Plans for new Las Vegas Monorail Co. stations at the MSG Sphere and Mandalay Bay have been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pause in the new stations comes as the Las Vegas Strip is virtually shut down, with the monorail being out of service since March 18 following Gov. Steve Sisolak’s statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses.
“We have suspended all activities related to the Sands Avenue project and we’ll assess the project moving forward,” said Ingrid Reisman, Las Vegas Monorail spokeswoman. “As with the Sands Ave. Station, we have suspended all activities related to the Mandalay Bay extension.”
Construction of the MSG Sphere was also halted late last month, with developers citing the pandemic.
Like other businesses, monorail officials applied for federal aid to help make up the financial hit brought on by the virus.
Monorail officials applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance funds through the Small Business Administration, Reisman said.
“But (we) have not received any funding yet,” she said.
The monorail also applied for funds from the Payroll Protection Program but was told it was not eligible because of its nonprofit stature.
As Sisolak puts together a phased reopening plan, it’s likely it will be some time before Las Vegas returns to normal visitation levels. Since visitors make up the majority of riders on the monorail, the long-term effects of the shutdown remain to be seen.
“Since normally the majority of monorail riders are visitors, changes in visitation have historically affected our ridership,” Reisman said. “We’ll have to wait and see what the magnitude of any effect on ridership will be as visitation changes coming out of this business interruption.”
The virtual shutdown of the resort corridor also resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 NFL draft in Las Vegas. The monorail had been expected to play a large role in transporting the hundreds of thousands of people that were projected to take part in the three-day event.
Once the monorail does reopen it will adhere to safety guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
“We will continue to follow the direction of our governor and the guidance of medical professionals to help our community deal with the virus,” Reisman said.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. The Sphere is a project by Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas Sands Corp.