Coronavirus Hysteria Hits Las Vegas and Everything is Ruined

We haven’t been posting to our blog much lately, and it’s because we’re shell-shocked.

Why? Right now in Las Vegas, the message on those responsible gaming brochures in casinos has never been more relevant: “When the fun stops.”

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Las Vegas is in the throes of a full-fledged crisis: Coronavirus, and its associated hysteria, have caused major conventions to cancel and many leisure travelers to bail on visits, sending hotel occupancy into a tailspin, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

mother nature

Yeah, we said it.

While there have been just 18 confirmed (“presumptive positive”) cases of coronavirus in Las Vegas, it’s hard to adequately describe the impact that news has had on casinos, casino employees and innumerable related businesses.

In a word, devastating.

Many Strip resorts have closed (or plan to close) restaurants (buffets were the first to go), spas, nightclubs and pools. As mentioned, conventions have cancelled to the tune of tens of thousands of room nights.

Cirque du Soleil has temporarily suspended all its Vegas shows, and Caesars Entertainment is expected to announce the same for its shows.

The avalanche of bad news has come fast and furious, online and off.

We’ve tried to keep it light to provide some levity and perspective, but there are few bright spots at the moment.

Howard Hughes

If you don’t get it, you’re not Vegas enough.

There’s too much news, changing too quickly, to keep up with it all or chronicle it here. You’re better off hitting Twitter for the rapidly-changing news.

Opinions vary widely about whether the response to the coronavirus is commensurate with the threat (we lean strongly toward no), but there can be no disagreement this is a Las Vegas we’ve never seen before, nor did anyone imagine we’d ever see.

Las Vegas has proven itself to be resilient following tragedies like 9/11, the mass shooting of Oct. 1, 2017 and 2008 financial crisis.

Knowing Vegas will bounce back doesn’t make what’s happening any less startling or distressing, though. When you love something as much as we love Las Vegas, the heartbreak is all the more devastating.

Our crystal ball is typically pretty reliable, but at the moment, even we can’t foresee what’s next for Sin City. Literally nobody could’ve predicted hotels on the Las Vegas Strip would have occupancy rates of 10% and less. The unimaginable has become reality.

Las Vegas

Welcome to the daily cavalcade of WTF.

Optimism demands we believe the coronavirus will pass as the flu season always does, but the affect of the scare will linger much longer, financially and otherwise.

The most recent and alarming specter in this saga is the potential for Las Vegas casinos to close entirely. Which is a sentence we never thought we’d type, even after seeing the casinos in Macau, China and elsewhere shuttered. (Update below.)

Our best goes out to those affected by this confounding, surreal mess, and they are legion.

Here’s to Vegas weathering this storm as it has so many others, and let’s hope the dramatic steps being taken are worth the cost and achieve the desired results.

Update (3/15/20): Wynn and Encore have announced they’ll close temporarily. The resorts will close April 17 at 6:00 p.m. The closure is expected to last two weeks.

Wynn Encore closing

Gut punch number infinity.

We’re hearing these won’t be the only casino closures, so check back for updates.

Update (3/15/20): MGM Resorts has announced it will close its Las Vegas resorts as of midnight, March 16, 2020.

MGM Resorts closed

The surrealness is real.

Update (3/16/20): The Cosmopolitan will be temporarily closed through March 31, 2020.

Cosmo closing

Can we be done with this nightmare, already? Thanks.

Update (3/17/20): The Venetian and Palazzo are closing until at least April 1, 2020.

52 thoughts on “Coronavirus Hysteria Hits Las Vegas and Everything is Ruined

  1. Scott

    Caesars Palcabe laid off basically all of its restaraunt employees tonight for at least 4 weeks. I’m one of them 🙁

  2. joe

    Maybe Vegas now will re think it’s business model and get rid of the resort fees they used to take advantage of their success.

  3. Jim

    We all need to be careful. I visit Vegas twice a year and have for over 25 years. I have friends that work at the hotels and restaurants and my heart goes out to them. Obviously we need to get this under control. When we come back and we will Vegas does need to change some things they make enough money that they do not need to add all these unnecessary fees. No more resort fees. No more pay for parking. Lower room costs. Lower show tickets I mean some of this is just outright robbery. Lower food costs. People come to Vegas for fun. Make it fun. I arrive in Vegas and just between the airport and check in I am out $100 and I never got to place a bet yet. Love Vegas. I want my friends back at work. We will get thru this.

  4. DEAN

    I personally dont think we’ve done enough. While only 16 cases have been diagnosed to this point, there are surely others which have not been identified yet. This virus spreads quickly and those spreading it dont even have to show symptoms. When should we tackle it? When we have 10,000 cases diagnosed and several hundred deaths? We need to close all casinos now to help with this cause or the end result will be a huge black eye for Las Vegas overall as many families mourn the unnecessary deaths of loved ones.


    We were planning to come up from PHX today (15 March), but cancelled our reservations a few days ago for reasons mostly unrelated to CV. That was before Las Vegas itself started cancelling and closing everything. I won’t miss the Cirque shows, the night clubs, or the MGM buffets since I haven’t set foot on the strip in years.
    We were planning mostly to play some poker off-strip. Haven’t heard anything about closing the poker rooms yet, but I’m sure they’re on the list.
    In the same spirit, my undergraduate college in Tennessee just went to “remote learning” for the rest of the semester and announced that students must vacate the dormitories by March 18th; but if you’re an international student, have no safe home to go back to, or have no reliable internet access (!) you can apply for a waiver. Partial refunds will be given for dormitory and food service fees; and the alumni are being hit up for contributions to assist needy students forced to move out. Total number of positive tests or active CV cases on campus: zero.
    I agree with Jim that we will get through this, but I think there’s still some over-reacting to get through first.

  6. Tracy

    The CEO for Diamond Resorts should resign because he/she has no heart for continuing to have the sales reps push the sales of time shears. I was in Vegas for a seminar and I explained to them that I would not be purchasing a time shear because of the travel cancellations but they continued to push for me to purchase. I think they are heartless for not taking this epidemic seriously.

  7. Ed

    You know what’s devastating Scott, the thousands of deaths in China ,Italy and Spain. In Italy the virus is so widely spread that the hospitals can’t take in new people and have to choose which person have to die first.
    Money is just money, but you can’t get back those who died!

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      What gives you the impression I don’t think those deaths aren’t sad? Or any untimely deaths. Such as from influenza, which kills many more people than coronavirus. This isn’t about compassion, it’s about perspective. The hysteria has far outpaced the actual threat.

      1. Bill

        No it hasn’t.
        Out infection curve is following Italy’s to a tee.
        We are just a week behind them.
        Vegas probably did far too little far too late.
        Time will tell.

      2. Ed

        ‘The hysteria has far outpaced the actual threat.’

        Take some time and read the international news. Most West European countries are on total lock down because of the virus. Your country is two weeks later in this deadly curve.

        I think you should not take this virus lightly, I know we did a couple of weeks ago and now we are all stuck in our houses, schools closed, 90% of the stores closes, hospitals overloadedz older people banned from meeting other people etc.. and we are not even having 50% off the problems Italy has right now!

    2. Hrvoje Pratezina

      “You know what’s devastating Scott, the thousands of deaths in China ,Italy and Spain. In Italy the virus is so widely spread that the hospitals can’t take in new people and have to choose which person have to die first.
      Money is just money, but you can’t get back those who died!”

      Italy just reported 368 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours.
      Safety first. Money second.

    3. Mark Anthony

      Comparing the USA to Italy? Seriously? Have you been to Italy? Why do people kep thinking every nation int he world has the same standard of Hygiene, same access to modern technology or services like we do here??

      For many people in other countries, indoor plumbing is a modern convienince!! People, America has states with more people than Italy has.

      Old, crumblign hopstials tayt are older than the United States, cant be as modenr as our state of the art facilities or as large and open. So they will spread deiseses faster…

      1. Mark Anthony

        Sorry, bad spelling errors. Did not catch them… You get the point. Comparing old world countires to the USA is not a well thought out argument… .

        1. Fabian

          Wow, you’re funny. I’t’s absolutely no question of hygiene. The virus spreads from person to person. I live in Switzerland, which has a way better medical system than the US and our infection curve mirrors italy’s perfectly, just like yours does.
          I love the US and I hope it will overcome the situation fast. But with a president who downplays the problem and a lot of people who feel unvulnerable and value their personal freedom higher than the national health I’m not that optimistic.

    4. Johnny Ola

      Think of all the lost revenue and tax dollars which will kill people down the line. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be going into a lock down mode but these decision will have far reaching consequences down the line.

  8. Jim

    To all that are placing comments ….this is a time for us to come together work as a team to solve this disease. Vegas like any other big tourist city has its issues.

    My heart goes out to those that have lost loved ones due to this terrible disease. Throwing out would ah could ah should ah at this time will not lead to solutions.

    China was not up front to begin with and now blame it on our military. I am sure the recent trade deals have had an affect on their economy and some think this is their retaliation to the US. If that is true God help us.

    Right now we need all the information we can on this disease from China. From Italy. From Spain. Looking for that common trend. Then collectively we can attack it.

    This is not a political issue it’s a human issue that needs to be addressed by humans. For this blog we need to be what can Vegas do when we do come back? What will get people back into that “life is back” routine and make it better.

    Crisis time for all of us will take positive actions. Thanks for letting me vent.

  9. William

    Fellow commenters, let’s be responsible and not breath life into conspiracy theories that have no foundation in fact or reason.

  10. Martin Veneroso

    Any action taken before a pandemic seems alarmist. Any action taken after a pandemic seems inadequate.

    Time will reveal whether the step taken, and to be taken, are over-reaction or too little, too late. I just hope that they will be seen to have been an over-reaction, but I fear they will be seen as too little, too late.

    The economies of every country in the world will be taking a huge hit, whatever happens, and Las Vegas will be no exception.

    Most importantly, try to be kind to others, and understanding of the emotional and physical strain this will be putting on everyone. Some will lose jobs and homes, others will lose loved ones.

    We’re all here because we love Las Vegas. We all want what’s best for the place, and the people who live here, work here, and visit here. If you need something brighter to look forward to, think of the great bargains that will be offered when this is over with, and the businesses compete to see who can restore their cash flow the quickest!

  11. Funkhouser

    It’s easy to call it “hysteria” when we are not seeing the same impact as other countries or area of the US.
    Go talk to people in Seattle or NY area where community spread happens. Talk with the people at the CDC who make their living studying infection and planning for pandemics, are they just blowing smoke for fun?
    We don’t know, what we don’t know. Real facts about COVID-19, Virus is worst then the flu in terms of symptoms and possible longer term effects, shed rate happens faster then virus and before symptoms show up, COVID-19 host can spread to more people from host than flu 5-6 day transmission window, we still don’t know about re-infection rates. If you get Covid-19 and you are a high risk category you have a higher percentage risk of death vs Flu. Should people be hording TP No? Would a Covid-19 epidemic overwhealm the US health system, disrupt supply chain and businesses, most definitely. BTW if you think all of this is just over reaction, go hop a flight to WA state and volunteer to help with the infected.

  12. SilverRider

    Apparently some construction sites are going to be shut down next. The rumor at Resorts World is that it will be down for a month. It was never going to be completed by next summer anyway, so I’m sure they will use this to push back the opening date till 2022 or 4th quarter 2021. It’s still a little early in the year to start hitting National/State parks, but I’m surely not going to sit around my house for 30 days and hope I don’t catch anything.

  13. HornBet

    Had a nice little trip to Vegas just last week. Hit all my favorite spots. Enjoyed a great steak at Triple George. Enjoyed the go-go dancers from the bar at the Golden Gate. Checked out the Delano and really liked the room there.
    Tough times come and go. Vegas will see its way through. Hang in there Scott.

  14. Diana

    To say that this will pass as the flu season always does is not helping. This is not the flu. By minimizing the virus in this way only makes people not take it seriously which is part of the reason it’s spreading like it is. Maybe there is some over-reaction, or maybe not. But making light of the situation is not helpful.

  15. David

    Jaysus, people, get a grip. Italy is having their issues because their government did not implement any travel bans and basically did not take any of the steps the U.S. is taking until the virus was already out of control. Italy also has a single-payer healthcare system, care rationing that was in place even before the virus began to spread, and completely inadequate numbers of doctors, nurses and hospital beds. That is why Italy is the poster child for lousy epidemic management.

    I’m also very sad to see Vegas shutting down. My wife and I are frequent visitors and have many friends there who will now suffer as a result. God bless them all, and God bless Scott for what he does to keep us all informed.

    1. Ed

      Of course, in your shortsightness, you think your country is better than every other country. The truth is that half of your citizens have no healthcare insurance nor do they have job protection. These two things are standard in most European countries, where they take care of all people, not only rich people.

      Also healthcare in Italy is above standard. Because their fashion industry has many Chinese people working in Italy they got hit hard by the virus! Also remember that all the measurements that are now taken in the western world is because of the dramatic deaths in Italy in Spain. Most government leaders did not take the virus seriously before this weekend.

      I love your country, but boy now ignorant are most Americans. Take time to look further than your own borders and we what the world is really like, not what your presidents wants you to think it is.

      1. HornBet

        Ed, your impression that most Americans are ignorant is probably because our president is. In reality, the majority of Americans are rational and open minded, who are counting the days until the embarrassment occupying the Oval Office is gone and America can start working to rebuild its reputation on the world stage.

        1. Jim

          “Hornet” I At a time like this you you turn to blaming this on the President. You just indeed showed who is ignorant. YOU!!!! Not a time to be political it’s a time for unity and common sense. Something you obviously possess neither of.

          Vegas and this country will come back stronger than ever.

          1. The Ostrich

            Not a time to be political? Yet that moron president in the Oval Office will continue his tirades and tantrums, blaming “fake news” for anything he doesn’t like. Anything. He just did it on Sunday. But yeah, he’s not blaming the Democrats, so he’s not being political. I guess you could say he’s simply being a moron.

            Some drink Kool-Aid, others suckle at the teat of the president. Do so with pride, Jim.

          2. HornBet

            @Jim, it’s “HornBet”, not “Hornet”.
            Anyway, I don’t see anything in my post that blames the president, I only wrote that his ignorance rubs off on peoples impressions of other Americans. But while we’re on the subject, I think history will show that his administration’s response to this crisis was very late out of the gate, and colored by a lot of misinformation and gaslighting.
            But you’re right, this isn’t a time for blaming, and I agree that unity and common sense is needed, from everyone.

  16. Larry

    As of this Monday morning, 3/16, the Detroit and Windsor casinos are shutting down. And all bars and restaurants in Michigan have been ordered to shut down later today (takeout still ok).

    Vegas isn’t alone in all this.

  17. Adam

    IT is sad to see what is happening but I wish everyone well. I feel for all the employees who have been temporarily laid off I know 1st hand how stressful it can be when you worry about paying your bills. I wish everyone the best and look forward to booking another Vegas getaway when this all is over and done with. be safe all.

  18. HornBet

    A cautionary tale…

    A Trump supporter heard of a story from CNN about the dangers of a disease from China and said “liberal media, fake news. God will protect me.”
    Then the disease arrived in the United States and the Trump supporter saw Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health say we are in danger and must act now and the Trump supporter said “He worked for Democrats, he can’t be trusted. God will protect me.”
    Then the disease attacked people in the Trump supporter’s own town and local health officials said that we must act now and the Trump supporter said “they are just trying to insult my President, God will protect me.”
    The Trump supporter gets and dies of Covid-19 (as 2% will) and meets God. The Trump supporter says to God “why didn’t you protect me and give me a sign?” God said “I sent you the CNN report, I sent you Anthony Fauci, and I sent you your neighbors. You did this to yourself”

  19. Fabian

    Don’t you think it’s a special coincidence, international criticism of the US President has started with Trump? Usually we don’t care that much about your politics, do what you want. But for everyone outside the FoxNews-Trump-praise-Bubble it’s obvious that this president is a threat for the whole world.

  20. SilverRider

    WE voted him into office, it was not a fluke. WE will vote him in again. Based on what WE are deciding WE are the majority and WE run the show. Everyone else is in the minority. They need to learn their place. “Threat for the whole world ” is completely delusional and you know that but you just can’t accept US or HIM can you? Ironically WE are in the right and you people are in the wrong, yet you believe you are right. These surely are strange times, fortunately the majority of the people on the right side of the argument are in power. And that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Great for US, miserable for you. Still try to enjoy your life though, somehow, if that’s even possible.

    1. Fabian

      my life is great thank you. since you can’t back your claims with facts, just like all free media outlets (also the international ones, which are not part of your bipartisan conflict) do, it’s useless to write an answer. enjoy your cult.

    2. HornBet

      Majority? Eh, not exactly. The current president lost the popular vote by a margin of 2.8 million people, the largest loss margin in US history while still winning the electoral vote.
      It’s not looking likely that he’ll be reelected now that everyone’s had a good long look at who this guy really is. Whatever you want to call him – clown, grifter, moron, fool – he’s single handedly made America the laughing stock of the world.
      The US is at its strongest when we are united as a country. Xenophobia, and claims of “majority” and “minority” are counter productive in a democracy.

  21. SilverRider

    Remember me on November 3rd. And that my friend is not deflection, which you obviously excel at. And you don’t tell me or US what to do. Out of everything you’ve learned in the Trump era that one should be obvious.

  22. SilverRider

    The popular vote is fantastic if that’s what a country uses to elect a president. But we don’t use that here which makes it 100 percent irrelevant. Think of the electoral college being a game of football ball. Trump won that game. Meanwhile Hillary was playing table tennis. It’s literally incompetence to a degree never seen in American politics before. Saying Trump is “not likely” to win a second term is a continuation of denial that started the moment he descended down the elevator. It’s not if he wins a second term. It’s how much more you people are going to lose it when the democratic nominee calls him to concede.

    1. Jim

      Thank goodness America’s forefathers created the electoral college so that candidates who only visited the BIG cities like New York like Los Angeles like Boston and do not visit cities like Detroit like Philadelphia like Milwaukee LOSE. why? Because they thought they had the election in the bag. I like the idea that President Trump won especially now. Can you imagine Joe Biden trying to handle this coronavirus crisis. He has approached this response from a business standpoint instead of political thus all the businesses working as one all the labs working together all of this non-Partisan no politics.

      When the Ebola crisis hit all Biden would say was “we need to build hospitals. We need the Army Corp of Engineers” to build it. (Same thing he said last week). Well Obama said “where do we build it Joe”. Doesn’t matter we need it. Obama finally asked him to be quiet. So wonder where Joe would build it today? Delaware when it might be needed in New York it Washington state.

      Side note. One hospital was built by Obama using 3000 military people in Africa.

  23. SilverRider

    SloJoe clearly has some issues inside his mind. Even some Democrats I know are questioning how on earth he made it this far. At the end of the campaigns for president I think it will become clear to most people that choosing sleepy Joe would be worse than the guy currently in office. Same thing happened in 2016. Only this time around Joe Biden is an even poorer candidate than Killery, if that is even remotely possible.


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