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Wynn, MGM close Las Vegas casinos as Nevada declares state of emergency

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Wynn, MGM close Las Vegas casinos as Nevada declares state of emergency

Hotel and casino operators Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International announced March 15 that they are temporarily closing their venues in the city as Nevada declared the coronavirus outbreak a state of emergency.

Wynn said it will temporarily shut down Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, while committing to pay all full-time Wynn and Encore employees during the closure. The closures will take effect March 17 at 6 p.m. local time and are expected to be in effect for two weeks.

MGM said casino operations are scheduled to close March 16, while operations at its Las Vegas properties will be suspended starting March 17. The company's announcement comes just days after it confirmed that a racetrack employee at its Yonkers Raceway in New York died of coronavirus.

"It is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression," MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement.

MGM will also close properties in other states, including MGM Northfield Park in Ohio, MGM Empire City Casino in New York, MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, MGM National Harbor in Maryland, MGM Grand Detroit in Michigan, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in New Jersey, and its Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and Gold Strike Casino Resort properties in Mississippi.

The company said it will plan to reopen its resorts "as soon as it [is] safe to do so," adding that it will also support its employees and guests during the period of closure.

Separately, Caesars Entertainment Corp. said it started suspending live entertainment and performances at its venues March 15. The suspension will run through March 31. Caesars is offering refunds and exchanges for affected events. The company did not disclose plans to close its casinos in Las Vegas, but it announced temporary shutdowns of its casinos and racetracks across Maryland, Indiana, Pennsylvania, California and Illinois.

Meanwhile, it is business as usual for Las Vegas Sands Corp. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a newspaper owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, the company is planning to keep its properties in the city open and that the group is not considering layoffs.

Las Vegas Sands owns The Venetian and The Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip.

Caesars and Boyd Gaming Corp. are also planning to keep operations running in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal added. Boyd's Vice President of Corporate Communications David Strow reportedly told the newspaper that it has no further closures to announce other than the previously announced temporary shutdowns at its properties in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has ordered all K-12 schools in the state to close from March 16 through at least April 6 amid the new coronavirus outbreak. Senior centers in Nevada are also on lockdown since March 14 to protect the elderly.