Las Vegas Sands (LVS) said it will pay each of its 9,300 employees at the Palazzo and Venetian – even part-time staffers not scheduled to work – during a state-mandated 30-day closure of gaming properties.
On Tuesday, the company said the two Strip venues would be closed until at least April 1 in an effort to keep employees and guests safe from the coronavirus. Later that day, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of non-essential businesses throughout the state for 30 days, a directive pertaining to casinos as well.
LVS said salaried employees will be compensated as normal during the temporary business suspension, while announcing plans to pay hourly workers, too.
All full-time and full-time flex and hourly Team Members will be paid a minimum of 32 hours a week, whether working on the schedule, working from home, or are just not scheduled and confined to home,” according to a statement from the operator cited by KTNV Las Vegas.
On Thursday, the Labor Department said jobless claims for the week ended March 14 jumped to 281,000 from 70,000 – a two-year high – as workers across the country endure layoffs attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic punishing the US economy. Some economists are speculating that next week’s claims number could balloon to two million.
Assistance for Part-Time Staffers, Too
Sands is taking steps to help part-time workers and those, such as bartenders, restaurant staff, and valets, that derive substantial parts of their incomes from tips.
“All On-Call Hourly Team Members will be paid based on the average hours worked in February 2020, up to a maximum of 32 hours per week,” according to the company. “This will apply even when not scheduled to work at all while resort is closed.”
Sands said it calculated an hourly rate for employees depending on tips to help those workers with some of their lost income during the closures.
Only a handful of Silver State businesses, including banks, food and drug retailers, convenience stores and home improvement stores, remain open.
LVS added that none of its employees will be required to take unpaid time off while the Palazzo and Venetian are shut down, and that no staff will be subject to altered or reduced healthcare benefits.
Been Here Before
LVS and rivals MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts are in familiar territory regarding government-enforced closures of gaming properties. In February, authorities in Macau announced a 15-day mandatory suspension of gaming activities there, a move aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
That decision, though disastrous from a revenue standpoint, proved effective because the peninsula went nearly 40 days without a new COVID-19 case. That’s until three new ones were reported earlier this week.
Macau and Singapore are the two most important markets for LVS. In the fourth quarter, the Palazzo and Venetian on the Strip combined for just $120 million of the operator’s $1.31 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.