LAS VEGAS – Due to a lack of demand in the aftermath of COVID-19 travel fallout, MGM Resorts will shut down hotel operations during the midweek at the Mirage and Mandalay Bay resorts.
Starting on Nov. 30, the hotel towers at Mirage and Mandalay Bay will open at noon on Thursdays and stay open until noon on Mondays.
Casinos, restaurants and amenities inside The Strip resorts will remain open.
“We are constantly evaluating occupancy levels and adjusting operations accordingly,” MGM Resorts said in a statement.
The company does not expect the midweek hotel closures to remain past December, but MGM Resorts will “continue evaluating business levels to determine how long they are in effect.”
The changes at Mirage and Mandalay Bay will come three weeks after MGM Resorts announced the Park MGM hotel would close from noon Mondays through noon Thursdays.
"This year has proven to be especially challenging due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the absence of the major meetings, conventions and events that typically fill Las Vegas’ calendars during the fall and winter months," said Anton Nikodemus, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas properties, in a letter to employees.
Las Vegas 'in a world of hurt'
Nevada's casinos reopened June 4 under new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, including reduced occupancy, more space between gamblers and severely curtailed limits for meeting and convention space.
MGM's occupancy rate during the third quarter was 44%. Driving midweek traffic has been a challenge, CEO Bill Hornbuckle said, as conventions have not yet returned.
Those factors contributed to devastated third quarter earnings for MGM Resorts — an operating loss of $495 million.
The pandemic has essentially transformed Las Vegas from a global destination to a regional gambling hub dependent on drive-in business.
"We're in a world of hurt here in terms of Las Vegas," said Las Vegas Sands President and COO Rob Goldstein in a July earnings call. "I've never felt more gloomy than I do today about what's happening in Las Vegas."
In July, Las Vegas Sands property Palazzo stopped taking weekday room reservations due to lack of demand.
In October, 1,856,900 people visited Las Vegas — a 50% drop year over year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Air travel to McCarran International Airport was down 57% in October — a loss of 2.6 million visitors.
Nevada issues new restrictions due to surge
The COVID-19 surge in Nevada is now at "wildfire levels," and new statewide restrictions started Tuesday that will impact travelers visiting this gambling and entertainment destination.
"We are on a rapid trajectory that threatens to overwhelm our health care system, our frontline health workers, and your access to care," Sisolak announced Sunday. "So it’s time to act."
The "statewide pause" comes as 10 percent of all COVID cases in Nevada were reported in the previous seven days. In addition, 13 of Nevada's 17 counties have been flagged for elevated risk of transmission.
In place for the next three weeks, the new restrictions expands the state’s mask mandate and limits capacity to 25 percent in the following places:
Amusement and theme parks
The statewide pause will also affect restaurants and bars that serve food in the following ways:
Reservations are now required for in-person dining, except at fast food restaurants and food courts
Capacity will be reduced from 50 to 25 percent
No more than four customers can be at a table.
Private gatherings are now limited to 10 people with no more than two households participating. Public gatherings are now limited to 50 people — or 25 percent of fire code capacity, whichever is smaller. That includes at churches.
Masks are required at any time you are around someone not part of your immediate household, including during private gatherings inside and outside.
"From the start of this pandemic, there aren’t any decisions that don’t have negative consequences," Sisolak said. "Weighing the loss of jobs and businesses versus the loss of health and lives is painful, without a perfect solution."
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.
This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: MGM Resorts to close Mirage, Mandalay Bay midweek due to COVID-19