Mirage Hotel-Casino to Start 2021 With Midweek Shutdowns to Combat COVID-19 Fallout

  • Vegas casino resort announced it will freeze all operations Mondays through Thursdays
  • Owner and operator MGM Resorts took the decision based on low demand on weekdays
  • Property's casino and hotel closures start January 4, to remain in place no longer than February
  • UNLV professor hopes shutdowns are temporary and COVID-19 vaccines will offer some respite
The Mirage casino resort in Las Vegas
Bracing itself against a COVID-19-related dip in business for early 2021, The Mirage will pause all operations during the week, starting January 4. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Casino, hotel to shutter Mondays through Thursdays

Once the New Year celebrations are over, it’s into COVID-19 business survival mode for The Mirage Las Vegas as it plans to reduce its operating hours. The hotel-casino will kick off the first working week of 2021 by completely shuttering all operations Mondays through Thursdays.

The Mirage – a Polynesian-themed casino resort on the Strip owned and operated by worldwide hospitality and entertainment brand MGM Resorts International – announced the upcoming midweek closedowns via Twitter on December 21:

Starting at noon on Monday, January 4, the iconic South Las Vegas Boulevard property will shutter its casino, hotel, restaurants, and all other amenities. The property’s erupting volcano attraction will also cease activity.

Weak weekday business

In a statement, MGM Resorts International attributed its decision to freeze midweek business activity to “weekday business levels remaining low due to COVID-19 and the restrictions on group gatherings.”

temporary restrictions to remain in place no longer than February

Right now, the company expects the temporary restrictions to remain in place no longer than February. It also said it would continue to assess how long The Mirage’s midweek hotel shutdown will continue.

After the first wave of COVID-19 struck in March and casino resorts closed, The Mirage only reopened again on August 27. Along with Mandalay Bay, which MGM agreed to sell in January, the first time the facility placed its hotel under lock and key midweek was from November 30 until the end of December.

MGM isn’t the only casino resort operator to tinker with opening hours. Wynne Resorts’ Encore introduced a 2pm Thursdays till noon Mondays initiative in October. Caesars’ Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino reopened October 8 at limited capacity, keeping its casino operations going seven days a week but limiting hotel reservations from Thursdays to Sundays only.

Vaccine vacuum

All the big casino resorts in Las Vegas are suffering because conventions, the prime driver of their midweek bookings, are just not happening. Many high-spending Sin City casino visitors also prefer to stay put rather than risk traveling.

According to University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) hospitality professor Amanda Belarmino, the strategy of opening on weekends helps keep some people employed while cushioning the financial impact on businesses. Belarmino hopes The Mirage’s midweek freeze “will be for a limited time while the vaccines continue to be administered.”

Nehme Abouzeid, President of the LaunchVegas LLC consulting group, reportedly deemed working-week business travel vital for “big-box 3,000-room hotels” such as The Mirage, the Encore, and Planet Hollywood. He said the temporary shutdowns are inevitable. “It’s expensive to run a hotel, and Las Vegas has many of the world’s largest. Public companies can’t lose money and run without end,” he added.