Some Nevada Casinos Still Closed One Year After First COVID-19 Cases

Across Nevada, 13 casinos have remained closed one year after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Main Street Station
Main Street Station
The Main Street Station Casino, Brewery, and Hotel lights up a section of downtown Las Vegas. The resort is one of 13 hotel-casinos in the state still closed during the pandemic. (Image: Las Vegas Sun)

In Las Vegas, two Boyd Gaming Corp. properties, Main Street Station and Eastside Cannery, will stay closed until consumer demand picks up, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

As COVID-19 cases began to spike last March, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered casinos and other business to close statewide. The first known COVID-19 case in Nevada, 55-year-old Marine Corps veteran Ronald Pipkins, was diagnosed a year ago this month. He was treated at the VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas. 

Sisolak allowed casinos to reopen on June 4, following a 78-day shutdown. Some opened right way. Others began operating again over time.

Boyd Gaming executives said last fall that Main Street Station will open in 2021. It is located downtown near the Plaza Hotel Casino and Circa Resort.

Eastside Cannery is near Sam’s Town on the Boulder Highway.

David Strow, a Boyd Gaming spokesman, told the newspaper that consumer demand will determine when the properties reopen.

Main Street Station will depend on how quickly tourism to the Strip and downtown recovers, especially from Hawaiian guests,” he said. “While we’re pleased with how Sam’s Town is performing, we don’t see enough demand on the Boulder Strip today to justify reopening (Eastside Cannery) in the next several months.”

Several other resorts in the Las Vegas area remain shuttered. These include four Red Rock Resorts properties. They are Fiesta Rancho, Fiesta Henderson, Texas Station, and Palms. 

Also in Southern Nevada, Eldorado Casino in Henderson has not reopened. It is scheduled to begin operating again April 1 under the name The Pass Casino, according to the Review-Journal.

Northeast of downtown Las Vegas, the casino at the Siegel Slots and Suites apartments near Nellis Air Force base has not reopened.

In Clark County south of Las Vegas, the casino at the Cal-Neva-Ari is closed. However, the post office in the building is open from 8 am to 4 pm. Also in Southern Nevada, the Colorado Belle in Laughlin remains closed, with no plans to reopen soon, the newspaper reported.

Reno Recovery 

In Northern Nevada, two casinos have closed permanently, Harrah’s Reno and the Lakeside Inn and Casino.

Harrah’s had been in operation on Virginia Street in Reno for 83 years before closing permanently March 17. 

The Lakeside Inn and Casino is on the Nevada-California border at Lake Tahoe’s south shore. After being open for 35 years, it closed for good during the pandemic.

The Say When Casino in McDermitt, which first opened in 1973, announced on its Facebook page it is closed until further notice because of the pandemic. McDermott is on the Oregon border north of Winnemucca. 

The economy in the Reno area has recovered more quickly during the pandemic than in Southern Nevada. Experts say Reno’s diversified economy is less dependent upon the casino industry. Also, Reno is closer to major metropolitan areas than Las Vegas, and not as reliant on air travel in attracting tourists.

Renewed Confidence 

While the pandemic has led to a tourism slump, especially in Southern Nevada, some in the casino industry are hopeful that vaccinations will give tourists renewed confidence in traveling.

Already this year, a half dozen hotel-casinos on the Strip have reopened their hotel rooms every day of the week after being closed because of low consumer demand.

These properties include the Palazzo at the Venetian Resort, located on the Strip where the Sands once stood.

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