MGM Grand Hotel & Casino is pictured in Las Vegas, the United States, May 12, 2019. (Xinhua/Han Fang)
MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd., two major casino operators in Las Vegas, announced Sunday night they would temporarily shut down their properties as a precaution measure to contain the spread of 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 percent of CityCenter, which includes Aria and Vdara.
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 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, 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 local time to help stem the spread of the coronavirus and the closure is 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 Sunday it is 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.