COVID-19, a strain of the novel coronavirus, has had major impacts on companies throughout the United States, most notably to the casino and gaming industry. It seems that with new information every day, it has changed the way companies choose to handle business and try to stop the spread of the virus.
MGM Resorts International is one of the leaders of the casino and gambling industry in the US, and they have had to change course multiple times. Here are three of their most recent announcements, with all of them announcing a different set of closures.
Seven Las Vegas Buffets Close
On March 11, MGM Resorts International began taking its first steps in trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus. MGM announced that they were closing each of their buffet restaurants at their seven locations on the strip in Las Vegas.
The mayor of Las Vegas didn’t agree with the decision and wanted MGM to install sneeze barriers instead. Other companies such as Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts announced that they would keep their buffets open, but that workers would be in place to serve customers instead of allowing them to touch all of the utensils.
MGM also announced that they were closing the Yonkers Raceway racetrack in Yonkers, NY, after an employee contracted the COVID-19 virus, and died from the disease. Other employees at that location were asked to self-quarantine and report any symptoms to the proper health officials.
MGM Resorts Close in Las Vegas on March 17
Even though the city of Las Vegas did not force any of the casinos or their properties to close, MGM Resorts made the decision on their own. MGM announced Sunday that it would temporarily suspend operations at all of its Las Vegas properties on March 17. Casinos were to be shut down on Monday, while hotels would close a day later on St. Patrick’s Day.
Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, cited the need to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus as the main reason for these closures. MGM had implemented new cleaning and safety procedures as the threat of the coronavirus increased, but they eventually made the decision to cease operations.
Murren announced that MGM Resorts in Las Vegas would not be taking reservations again until May 1.
MGM Resorts have already dealt with two of their employees testing positive for the COVID-19 strain. One of those employees worked at Wet Republic Ultra Lounge at MGM Grand, and another employee worked at Luxor.
At the time of this announcement, there had been 26 people that have tested positive for the disease. All nightclubs and pools at MGM Resorts International locations had already closed to limit exposure.
MGM Announces Closure of All US Resorts
After announcing that MGM would shut down their resorts in Las Vegas on March 17, the company made another announcement to close things down nationwide. All MGM properties in Las Vegas were to close on March 16, as well as their properties in New Jersey and Detroit.
MGM owns two properties in the state of Mississippi, and they were set to close on Tuesday morning. MGM Resorts International announced that all operations at these resorts would be shut down temporarily, but there was no timetable given to reopen.
The Empire City Casino in New York is expected to reopen by March 28, but this could be another plan that is altered in the coming weeks. All of the closures and the overall trend of the stock market caused MGM shares to drop nearly 34 percent on March 16.