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January 16, 2022

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Venetian and Palazzo closing amid coronavirus crisis

Casino Exteriors

Steve Marcus

An exterior view of the Venetian Resort hotel casino in Las Vegas Friday, August 22, 2014.

Updated Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 2:55 p.m.

The Venetian and Palazzo will close until at least April 1 amid the coronavirus outbreak, operator Las Vegas Sands announced today, conceding that the shutdown could be "a prolonged event."

The process of closing the Las Vegas Strip properties will begin immediately and be completed as soon as possible, officials said.

The company said it is committed to paying employees during the closure. "No layoffs or furloughs are being contemplated and the closure will not impact health care eligibility," the company said in a news release.

"Our team members and their families will rightly be concerned about their health and safety, but we do not want them worried about their jobs, income or health care," Rob Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, said in a statement. The company is "prepared to support our team members over an extended period should it be needed," he said.

A decision on whether to extend the closure will be made later, officials said. "While we hope this closure is a short-term necessity, we are realistic it may be a prolonged event," Goldstein said.

Las Vegas Sands is the latest casino operator to announce Strip closures.

Wynn Resorts first announced Sunday it was closing its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore properties. MGM Resorts International quickly followed, saying it would suspend operations today at its nine Strip resorts.

The Cosmopolitan will temporarily close starting Wednesday.

The closures come as the number of coronavirus cases in the region steadily climbs. Since the first case was reported in Clark County on March 5, the Southern Nevada Health District has reported 42 presumptive positive tests for the virus and one related death.

The Strip's other major casino operator, Caesars Entertainment, has not announced any plans to close any of its eight Strip properties.

Neither the governor nor the Nevada Gaming Commission has ordered any casino closures.

“We’re following the science and (casino properties) are making individual decisions and following the science,” said Tony Alamo, a medical doctor and chairman of the Gaming Commission.

Las Vegas Sands, meanwhile, said it is donating a combined $250,000 to several local organizations to serve the community during the crisis, including Three Square, Communities In Schools and Share Village Las Vegas. It also plans to bolster that financial support with the donations of meals and needed equipment, officials said.