Nevada Casinos to Remain Closed Through April; Governor Seeks Disaster Status

The coronavirus has swept through the United States like a wreaking ball, infecting hundreds of thousands of people and killing over 5,000. Because it is easily spread, casinos around the nation have shutdown services. In Las Vegas, Nevada, casinos are the life-force of the region, the way that people make money in several areas, from the casino gaming floor to restaurants and lounges. The casinos have now been told to remain closed through the month of April, with Governor Steve Sisolak seeking a major disaster declaration from President Trump.


The order by the governor for the casinos and other non-essential businesses to remain closed throughout the remainder of the month is essentially a stay-at-home order for the state. Nevada has three million residents who now join 33 other states that have decided to enact some form of quarantine status.

If Trump decides to approve Nevada as an area of major disaster, they will then be eligible for federal assistance. This will allow emergency protective measures to be applied based on the proclamation of a nationwide emergency.

When it comes to the casino industry closures, Nevada is the hardest hit. They rely heavily on gaming and tourism as a way of life, with one out of every three residents of the state employed in some form or fashion in the gaming industry.

Basically, around 40% of the general fund budget for the state comes from the tourism and gaming sector. According to the Resort Association of the state, the recovery from the shutdown could take up to just under two years. The economic impact could reach around $39 billion.

Will Trump Act for the State?

It is unclear as to if President Trump will declare the region a major disaster area. Governor Sisolak has asked the federal government to help the state respond and recover via assistance. The governor called the health crisis in the state severe and of a high scale so that the effective response needed is beyond what the state, local and tribal governments can provide.

The governor feels that assistance is needed from the federal government to save lives as well as protect the health of the public along with helping the state to recover from the economic impact.

Many casinos must have assumed that they would be up and running by mid-April as certain venues on the Las Vegas Strip began accepting room reservations starting on April 17th. They apparently felt that the closure would be lifted. Now with this order, any reservations will need to be cancelled.

Along with the extension of the closures, the governor has instituted a travel advisory. Travelers in Las Vegas are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case of infection. The new guidance enacted does not stop travel but the governor is asking that visitors do not come to the region and residents of the state avoid travel that is not essential.

Across the United States, the country has basically hit a standstill. In most states, non-essential businesses are shutdown. Only major retailers like Walmart are open to provide a source of supplies. However, people are being asked to limit trips to stores and to stay home as much as possible. By avoiding social interaction, the likelihood of catching the coronavirus is diminished.

We shall see in the coming days if the federal government replies to the request of Nevada’s governor and if the state will be receiving any help in the coming months.


Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.