The entire country is trying to find a way to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic, and the state of Nevada is no different. Nevada, and the city of Las Vegas, especially, have been hit hard by the virus, and the financial impacts of the COVID-19 strain could be devastating.
Governor Steve Sisolak has shut down all nonessential businesses through the end of April, and that has shut down all casinos and resorts on the Las Vegas strip.
This was an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease, but he was also looking for a way to combat the disease and provide relief throughout the state. Sisolak formed the COVID-19 Response, Relief, and Recovery Task Force to assist medical professionals and first responders in the state.
Former MGM Resorts International Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren was chosen to lead the task force. His appointment was questioned by lawmakers and other industry leaders from around the state, but it appears that he was the right man for the job.
Murren initially announced his resignation as CEO of MGM Resorts International on February 12, but he agreed to stay with the company until his successor was chosen. The coronavirus pandemic and a phone call from Governor Sisolak changed his mind.
Murren left the company immediately to lead the COVID-19 task force, a position that he will not be compensated for.
The COVID-19 Task Force set out to receive monetary donations as well as medical supplies that would be delivered to front line employees trying to fight the disease. The task force gave their first update on Thursday, and the results were impressive: Over 241,000 N95 or equivalent face masks, 700,000 surgical masks, and over 1 million pairs of gloves.
The task force has also received more than 2,000 surgical gowns to go along with over 100 gallons of hand sanitizer.
The COVID-19 Task Force isn’t done, and they are expecting to purchase many more supplies over the next two weeks. The task force is looking to purchase another 750,000 N95 masks, 400,000 more pairs of gloves, and an additional 250,000 surgical gowns.
Since the COVID-19 task force was just created by the governor, there was no money available when this process was started. All of the purchases have been made possible by several large donations, and the task force announced on Friday that they had received over $10 million in donations.
The initial effort of the task force was to provide front line health care professionals with the essential equipment that is needed to fight this disease. The other major job of the task force was to secure financial donations from major companies in Las Vegas and in the surrounding communities.
The Murren Family Foundation was one of the first groups to make a donation to the COVID-19 Task Force, but they have had several other Family Foundations donate as well. The Fertitta Family Foundation, Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation, and the Marnell Family Foundation also made contributions to the task force.
Several people have made individual contributions to the task force, and these contributions total close to $250,000. The Nevada Gold Mines, Monarch Casino, Peppermill Resort, and the UFC have also made significant contributions.
As of Friday morning, the state of Nevada has had over 1,500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and 43 people have died. There are at least 37 other states that are under strict orders from state government to shelter in place, and almost 100 percent of the casinos across the United States have been closed shut down.