Nevada Shuts Down for Coronavirus, Closing Las Vegas

Nevada and the City of Lights are going dark for at least the next 30 days to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


Nevada and the City of Lights are going dark for at least the next 30 days to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that he ordered all of the state’s gambling operations and all nonessential businesses to be shut down by today. The closure of the popular tourist destination Las Vegas is another sign of the impending economic impacts that will be felt throughout the country due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

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Nevada follows other states like New York and California that have mandated similar closures.

At a city council meeting today, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman asked the governor to shorten the 30-day closure of nonessential businesses to avoid long-term strains on the economy.

“It has been my intent as mayor…that we would be able to remain open for business, even when realizing there could be constraints put upon us, to which we would have reasonably adhered,” she said.

She argued that outbreaks like the West Nile virus, Zika virus, Ebola, swine flu, and others from the past 20 years did not require such shutdowns. Goodman also said she was worried about employees and workers in the hospitality industry who live paycheck to paycheck and other mom-and-pop operations. 

“I know we, and they, cannot survive any total shutdown of the economy for any length of time beyond the immediate week or two,” she said. “Thus, my full efforts will be focused on keeping as many of our people as possible employed, and asking the governor to shorten the projected shutdown … Any full-out shutdown will cripple the state’s recovery, not only for now, but for several years to come.”

Las Vegas has been in the midst of a development and investment boom since it was hit by the last recession. It is home to about 148,000 hotel rooms and 136 casinos, and last year, the city experienced the highest year-over-year multifamily rent growth in the nation while office vacancy hit its lowest point since 2007.

MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts announced earlier in the week that they are suspending operations at their casinos and resorts through at least the end of the month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month, a guest at MGM’s Mirage hotel and several employees tested positive for the virus. 

Last week, the International Council of Shopping Centers canceled its annual REcon convention in Las Vegas, and suspended all events until June.