Lights Out: Coronavirus closes casinos

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Caesars Palace and other Las Vegas resorts to do something they've never done before: close their doors. KSNV's Jeff Gillan reports.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KSNV/NBC News) — Most of the Las Vegas strip has shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Caesars Palace closed, along with other hotels and casinos, after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all non-essential businesses to halt operation last week.

It’s something Caesars Palace has never done before.

“It’s surreal. It was very sad. Casinos are places of light and color and energy, and they’re not places that are dark and quiet,” says Gary Selesner, the president of Caesars Palace.

It’s also something there was no plan for.

“We didn’t have a manual on how to close the casino in Las Vegas. That’s not something we ever anticipated ever needing to do,” general manager Sean McBurney says. “We quickly moved to take the cash out of the slot machines, deposit to the cage. Take the cash out of the cage and deposit it into the bank. Close the restaurants. Close the hotels and look at our inventories.”

Those inventories right now are lifelines.

Masks, gloves and other medical supplies were donated to a nearby hospital. The food on hand was sent to local food banks.

Read more: