MGM Resorts buffets on the Las Vegas Strip to close temporarily due to coronavirus concerns

LAS VEGAS – As coronavirus continues to spread across the country, one of Sin City’s most popular stops is getting shut down along the Strip: buffets. 

a bridge over a body of water with a city in the background: In this April 4, 2017, file photo, the fountains of Bellagio erupt along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas. The NFL on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, detailed its draft plans for April 23-25 on the city's glittering Strip.

On March 15, MGM Resorts International will temporarily close buffets at the company’s seven Strip properties: ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur. 

“These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis,” the company said in a statement to the USA TODAY Network.

Properties of Caesars Entertainment – the largest MGM competitor on the Strip – will keep buffets open.

“We are incorporating cleaning and hygiene protocols into the buffets as well as the rest of our operations across the company,” the company said in a statement.

Mayor opposes buffet closure

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she respects MGM Resorts’ efforts to keep the public safe from coronavirus – but she would not have closed the buffets.

Goodman referenced the use of glass on cruise ships to keep patrons from breathing on buffet food as a better solution.

Carolyn Goodman et al. standing in front of a crowd: Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department headquarters to watch President Donald Trump deliver remarks at a Hope for Prisoners graduation ceremony.

“As long as people don’t put a spoon in their mouth and then put it back in the food under the glass,” she said. “Good comes from everything that’s bad, but I just think that’s totally wrong. Put bigger glass out there. For MGM to buy in and have the fear – that’s not the right direction.”

Las Vegas is a place where tourists come to forget their worries – not find more, the mayor said. 

“This is Vegas,” Goodman said. “This where when you were panicked somewhere else in the world with some problem, it was: ‘You know – I’m going to take that money, and I’m going to Las Vegas and forget my woes.’”

COVID-19 tests Vegas tourism economy

Four cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Nevada — two each in Clark and Washoe counties. 

As coronavirus grips the globe, government agencies and employers are giving orders that could be problematic for the Las Vegas tourism mecca: Travel less.

In the wake of coronavirus, companies nationwide are increasingly telling their employees to avoid nonessential travel or large gatherings such as conferences – a pillar of the Las Vegas economy.

The nation’s largest domestic airline, Southwest, has seen a noticeable decline in bookings – a decline that continues daily, according to CEO Gary Kelly.

Casino stocks fell sharply as coronavirus-fueled market swings continued over potential economic fallout from the outbreak. Conventions have been postponed or canceled.

The U.S. death toll due to coronavirus has risen to 28, as infections spread to all but a handful of states. The global death toll topped 4,000 and the number of confirmed cases approached 117,000. 

This is a developing story. Check for updates.

This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: MGM Resorts buffets on the Las Vegas Strip to close temporarily due to coronavirus concerns

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