Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has ordered all of his state’s non-essential businesses, including casinos, to close for at least 30 days in an attempt to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This extreme, but essential action, shows exactly how seriously state and federal authorities are taking the growing worldwide pandemic. After all, before this week, “Nevada shuts down the Las Vegas Strip” would be practically interchangeable with the expression, “When hell freezes over.”

Governor Sisolak made his announcement on Tuesday afternoon, pointedly announcing that casinos and all other non-essential businesses would be required to shut down for at least 30 days. (Though that number seems somewhat optimistic at this point.) The last roll of the dice and the final blackjack hands dealt were to be wrapped up by Tuesday night and casinos have until midnight Wednesday to close their restaurants and bars.

The fact of the matter is that some casinos, including MGM Resorts, had already seen the writing on the wall and shut down ahead of the governor’s order. It’s not surprising that MGM Resorts, a company with a large casino in Macau, was one of the first to voluntarily close. They clearly learned something from the multi-week shutdown that crippled the Macau casino business, but definitely helped slow the spread of COVID-19.

On the other hand, MGM Resorts are taking a somewhat optimistic approach to the crisis. They’ve told employees to prepare to be to work by the middle of May. (Let’s hope they’re right.)

In a statement reported on the Las Vegas Review Journal, Governor Sisolak summed up the seriousness of the situation saying, “I know there will be some who will disagree with my decision, some who will think this is an overreaction,” Sisolak said. I want you to know I’ve spent countless hours working with medical experts, the White House, the CDC, labor and industry leaders, and I fully believe that this is an appropriate and informed reaction.”

“I know the impacts of this decision will reach far and wide into the homes and lives of our Nevada families. This was not an easy decision to make.”

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