Casinos throughout Nevada were closed Wednesday, along with other nonessential businesses, following an unprecedented order from Gov. Steve Sisolak. He urged residents to stay home to help curtail the spread of the new coronavirus. (March 18) AP Domestic
LAS VEGAS – A pair of the most profitable hotel-casino companies in the U.S. will continue paying employees through the COVID-19 shutdown.
Pay is guaranteed for more than 15,000 Wynn Resorts workers through May 15.
“It is our shared responsibility to follow the direction of health and safety professionals to stay home, and limit social contact,” said Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox in a statement. “We owe it to each other, our families and to our community.”
Tipped employees will receive the average of tips distributed since the start of the year.
Las Vegas Sands will continue to pay 9,300 people through April 30, when Nevada’s state-mandated closure is set to end.
“I hope to do that right up until the time that we can reopen our businesses,” Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson wrote in a New York Post column. “It’s not only the right thing to do — it’s good business.”
On Wednesday, Nevada extended its sweeping COVID-19 shutdown an extra two weeks, keeping all casinos and other nonessential businesses dark until April 30.
The economic stoppage has led to job losses throughout Nevada and the U.S.
92,000 people sought unemployment benefits last week in Nevada
The Silver State recorded its largest percentage jump in weekly unemployment claims in more than three decades just a few days before Sisolak’s initial call for the closure of the state’s casinos and non-essential businesses.
The spike in claims is unprecedented, reaching a level more than 10 times that seen during the Great Recession. Statewide, more than 92,000 people sought unemployment benefits last week.
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The unemployment rate in the U.S. could reach a staggering 32.1% in the second quarter as 47 million workers are laid off amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to USA TODAY.
That would be the highest jobless rate on records dating to 1948 and easily top the 25% rate during the Great Depression.
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.
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