Wynn Las Vegas Avoids Layoffs, MGM Workers Await Word on Who Is Leaving

Posted on: March 15, 2020, 04:42h. 

Last updated on: March 16, 2020, 09:30h.

Wynn Las Vegas is feeling the pressure of lower revenue stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. But unlike its rival, MGM Resorts International, Wynn workers’ jobs appear to be safe.

Wynn CEO Matt Maddox told current, full-time employees their jobs are safe, as the Wynn Las Vegas responds to a national downturn brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. (Image: Boston Globe)

Given the pandemic, Wynn will shutter buffets, nightclubs, the poker room, racebook, salons, spas, the sportsbook, and theater shows in Las Vegas, according to reports from the Reno Gazette-Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal. Yet the company sees current employees key in the effort to keep properties healthy during the global crisis.

“What we’re going to do during these challenging times is make sure that all of our full-time employees — whether you’re in a closed outlet or you’re working here — will be getting their pay,” Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox reassured anxious workers in a Friday evening video message.

We’re going to work each and every day to ensure the safety of all of you, and that you know that we’re going to do everything we can for you to keep your job,” Maddox added.

Maddox was also honest about projected guest stays at the hotel, revealing a likely occupancy rate in the “low teens.” He advised there will be “rolling closures in various outlets,” as well.

“Our business volumes are going to be basically empty over the next few weeks,” Maddox admitted to the workers.

“That, to me, is not our concern. What our concern is, [is] that we all get through this together,” Maddox said. “Cases [of coronavirus] will continue to accelerate here in Las Vegas, and it will feel quite scary.”

In response to the outbreak, Wynn Las Vegas will have fewer seats at gaming tables and casino bars. Staff will also turn off every other slot machine. Restaurants at the Wynn will limit capacity to 100 people.

These steps will help ensure there is more space between guests, so people can avoid close personal contact. That is a key element of “social distancing,” as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

To further protect players and workers, Wynn staff is using thermal cameras to check the temperatures of guests through the non-invasive technology.

If someone has a temperature of 100.4F or higher, he or she will be informed and asked to leave.

Higher temperatures, as well as a cough, runny nose, and sore throat are among the key indications someone may have COVID-19.

Elsewhere, on Saturday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ordered the closure of the Wynn-owned Encore Boston Harbor, as well as the state’s two other commercial casinos, for two weeks.

MGM Layoffs, Furloughs to Begin

In contrast to Wynn’s commitment to keep paying workers, MGM notified its employees abruptly late Friday in a company letter that layoffs and furloughs are on the way. MGM has not specified how many workers will be impacted.

The Review-Journal reported that layoffs will affect front desk workers at The Mirage to bellmen and cocktail servers at Bellagio to housekeeping staff at New York-New York.

MGM also revealed it is closing nightclubs and day clubs. Spas and salons will close starting on Monday. Some 150 food and beverage venues will close on a rolling basis.

“As the nation grapples with the effort to contain the coronavirus, the travel industry has been challenged, and our company is no different,” MGM Resorts President and COO Bill Hornbuckle warned in his letter. “Business demand has decreased significantly.”

“These decisions are never made lightly, and we deeply regret the hardship it will place on these individuals and their families,” the letter adds.

He also told workers that several MGM employees have tested positive for coronavirus. More positive tests are likely, he added.

Earlier, Nevada health officials reported a woman who visited The Mirage, an MGM-owned property, has also tested positive for coronavirus. As of Friday, the Southern Nevada Health District reported eight new presumptive positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 16 in Clark County.

Last week, the Culinary Union asked multiple Las Vegas casinos for paid leave and other benefits, given the coronavirus outbreak. The union wants its workers to get more health-related training and adequate supplies.

There also should be appropriate levels of cleaning at Las Vegas area gaming properties in light of the virus, the union said. The Culinary Union additionally wants up to six months of paid leave benefits for workers in the event of a layoff.

Federal Money Might Aid Sector

When asked for comment on recent events in Las Vegas given the outbreak, Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at UNLV Boyd School of Law, told Casino.org, “These next few months will be trying times for the entire hospitality industry.”

Both the casino companies and their most valuable asset, their employees, will be feeling the strain of the pandemic,” Cabot added. “The casino companies will undoubtedly suffer significant revenue decreases, and many will likely have substantial losses.”

He also noted the recent volatility seen on Wall Street for gaming companies.

“The market reaction to casino stocks shows a decided lack of faith in the immediate future of the industry,” Cabot warned. “Hopefully, casino companies that have the reserves and resources will work with the unions and with non-union employees to address the short term challenges, but … the Federal government will need to use its more substantial resources to address the pandemic’s impacts directly on the workforce in this and most other industries.”

Nationally, a bipartisan workers’ relief bill was approved by the House of Representatives on Saturday. It is awaiting a Senate vote.

President Donald Trump and government leaders have been meeting with corporate CEOs and business associations to work out tax relief and emergency loans for corporations, Politico reported.

Airlines and the cruise industry may be among the sectors to be aided. The hospitality sector could also be given support from the government, Politico said.

On Saturday, CNBC reported how Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence referenced the travel industry while discussing possible corporate aid, given the coronavirus outbreak.

Las Vegas has seen multiple conventions and meetings canceled, such as the National Association of Broadcasters. Health officials have also warned the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions not to travel, further hurting the sectors.

Trump has also halted nationals from Europe traveling to the US. There also could be limited bans on domestic US flights involving locations with severe coronavirus outbreak.