The news was originally reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal following speculation by Vital Vegas about the outcome of a company “all hands” meeting held earlier today.
After seven weeks of evaluation and operating in this new business environment, we are now aligning the number of employees needed to serve the current number of Las Vegas visitors,” Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver told the Review-Journal.
The operator of Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore hasn’t yet disclosed how many workers will be furloughed, nor has it stated which of the two integrated resorts will have larger staff reductions. The Wynn news emerged just hours after it was revealed that Circus Circus will lay off 252 employees on Sept. 1.
Nevada Casinos reopened in early June following an almost three-month shutdown forced by the coronavirus. But the operating environment has been anything but normal.
The honeymoon phase of the June reopenings quickly wore off as Nevada, along with other states, experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases. As case counts mounted, Silver State gaming operators, looking to avoid a second shutdown, employed mandatory mask policies for patrons and eliminated or limited some amenities, including dining options.
Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered bars, pubs, and taverns that don’t serve food to close again to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
That’s just one order, but it’s indicative of the “new normal” faced by gaming companies — one that requires less staff because there are fewer visitors.
Compounding the woes of Strip operators, including Wynn, is reduced airline capacity caused by the pandemic, and soaring COVID-19 counts in states vital to the health of Nevada’s gaming-heavy economy. Airlines are reducing capacity and routes to contend with their own new normal, prompting many analysts to favor regional gaming equities over Vegas-centric equivalents.
On an annual basis, about half of all visitors to Sin City arrive there via air travel. Likewise, neighboring California, which accounts for nearly one in five visitors to Vegas, is saddled with one of the highest unemployment rates in the US, and its own rising COVID-19 tally.
Wynn’s Been Here Before
During the height of the coronavirus shutdown, Wynn departed from many of its rivals, opting to pay staff instead of laying them off.
While the move was lauded by analysts and on social media, the company cautioned the policy likely wasn’t tenable beyond mid-June.
That became clear late last month when Wynn said it’s furloughing about 3,000 employees at Encore Boston Harbor, its lone US integrated resort outside of Las Vegas.
For the affected workers, there’s a glimmer of hope via the important difference between a furlough and a layoff. The latter is more permanent in nature, while a furlough indicates there’s some chance the staffer could be called back or eventually placed in another role.