Coming to a standstill
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered a month-long freeze on gambling operations which will see all casino facilities shut down by noon on Wednesday. The aim of the statewide closure is to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
all facilities shut down by noon on Wednesday
Major casino resorts in Las Vegas will have to cease their gambling operations and close their dining hall doors. Sisolak’s order also includes shutting down slot machines found in the likes of convenience stores.
All other forms of non-essential businesses such as bars, gyms, and movie theaters will also close under the governor’s directive. Restaurants cannot have open dining rooms but are able to offer delivery or takeout options. Mobile gaming apps will seemingly remain operational during this time.
Lives on the line
Sisolak announced the new measures during a news conference on Tuesday evening. He said, “This is affecting the lives of our citizens. People are dying. Every day that is delayed here, I’m losing a dozen people on the back end that are going to die as a result of this.”
Earlier this week, a number of Vegas casinos shut down their operations. However, the thousands of affected businesses in the whole state of Nevada will not even have a day to prepare for the closures.
Many governors in other states have enacted similar directives to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Coronavirus impact in Nevada
There have been more than 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nevada and a single death to date. As well as the casino shutdowns, the popular tourist attraction Hoover Dam is also going to close its doors to visitors.
The state government expects a significant financial hit as a result of the closures, but it cannot put an accurate estimate on the damage.
There are no plans for Nevada officials to meet before the 2021 legislative session. No news of a special meeting to address budget concerns has been announced either. However, chief lawmakers said they are evaluating all options and working closely with the governor.
An unprecedented move
The last time that Las Vegas shut all of its casinos was on November 25, 1963 for President John F. Kennedy’s funeral. The new directive is also said to be the first-ever time there has been a statewide closure of casinos in Nevada.
A University of Nevada history professor, Michael Green, believes the intentional closures of casinos in the past week could be the fourth time this has happened since 1931, when Nevada first legalized gambling. He wrote, “The state occasionally revoked a license and ordered one closed, but nothing like this.”