Las Vegas, March 17 (IANS) MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd., the two major casino operators in Las Vegas, have announced that they would temporarily shut down their properties as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

MGM Resorts International operates the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor, New York-New York, Excalibur, and Park MGM and owns 50 per cent of CityCenter, which includes Aria and Vdara, reports Xinhua news agency.

The company’s Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement that the temporary closures would be effective from Monday for “the good of our employees, guests and communities” and would not be taking reservations prior to May 1.

“It is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression,” Murren said. “We will plan to reopen our resorts as soon as it is safe to do so.”

According to local media, there have been at least two confirmed cases of MGM employees with the coronavirus, one who worked at Luxor casino and another at Wet Republic pool.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. also issued a statement saying it is set to close its two Las Vegas properties beginning 6 p.m. Tuesday to help stem the spread of the coronavirus and the closure was expected to last two weeks, after which Wynn “will evaluate the situation”.

However, the Caesars Entertainment Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Boyd Gaming Corp. told local media that they had no plans to temporarily halt operations in Las Vegas so far.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said on Sunday that it was up to each casino operator to choose whether they will remain open or close, saying “gaming is the lifeblood of Nevada’s economy” and “I strongly support any decision our properties make”.

He also urged companies that plan to close to take care of their employees.

Documentation obtained by the local Review-Journal newspaper showed many Las Vegas-based casinos began laying off employees amid reduced travel demand from the coronavirus pandemic.

A Clark County man in his 60s was confirmed as the first reported COVID-19 death in Nevada on Monday.

In the US, nearly 4,000 cases have been reported and more than 65 people have died from COVID-19.

–IANS

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