ith the US Senate planning to vote on a $1.3 trillion economic aid package by Friday, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak spoke with President Donald Trump directly on Thursday.
Over a call, Sisolak requested that the President ensure that any potential stimulus package aimed at curbing the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic include help for the hospitality industry, according to a release.
Following the governor’s order that all nonessential businesses close for a 30-day period to help stop the spread of COVID-19, hotels and casinos across the state have shut down, putting a critical strain on Nevada’s main economic driver.
However, the impact on the hospitality industry has not only been felt in Nevada. The American Gaming Association released numbers Thursday afternoon showing that roughly 616,000 workers are being prevented from working across the country. This has resulted from 95% of the country's 465 commercial casinos closing along with 76% of the 524 tribal casinos.
The governor says that his call on Thursday was focused on stabilizing the state’s workforce in recovery efforts. “I have unfortunately had to shut down the Strip in Las Vegas and tens of thousands of hospitality workers have been displaced as a result of that,” Sisolak told President Trump.
“While they are getting some kind of compensation and filing for unemployment, anything to help that we can get from your end to help with the facilitation of getting our economy back going again would go a long, long way. This our number one industry in Nevada it would definitely be helpful if we could include them in any recovery package that is brought forward.”
On Wednesday, the Vegas Chamber, a business advocate organization, sent a letter to Congress asking for similar help.
Sisolak says that Trump responded positively to the suggestions and said he and his staff would consider the aid but gave no promise that aid would come for the industry from a federal package, KSNV reports. The governor says that he plans to keep working with the federal government to get the funding and other assistance to support Nevada in fighting the COVID-19 crisis and the overwhelmingly negative impact it is likely to have on the state’s economy.
Furthermore, MGM’s Chief Executive Officer, Jim Murren, was among the hospitality-business leaders who met at the White House with Trump. The administration is considering a $1.3 trillion bailout for a range of Americans as the country shuts down to stem the virus’s spread. For MGM and its staff, the cost of the early days of the pandemic has been stark: the company furloughed 70,000 workers when it closed its resorts this week, Bloomberg reports.
“Las Vegas, as you know, will come back rapidly once you give us the green light,” Murren said at a press conference after the meeting with Trump. “But it’s very important that we keep these people on our payrolls as soon as possible.”
Casinos are asking for grants, loan guarantees or tax credits. The administration is considering an array of responses for the country, including giving every U.S. citizen $1,000 to help weather the virus storm.
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is asking the Congress for specific national emergency tribal economic relief grants, including no less than $20 billion in direct federal aid over the next six months, with these funds accessible to tribal governments.
The Indian Country also urges Congress to enact legislation that will enforce a temporary 26-week restructuring on all loans and suspended interest rate accrual on loans with tribal governments and tribal government-owned entities.
Also, NIGA says direct grants should be provided to tribal government-owned enterprises that are facing closures due the coronavirus across the country. Tribes are coordinating with state governors to close their operations, while many others are issuing tribal government emergency closures to help slow the spread of the virus.