March 18, 2020 / 9:36 AM / in 20 days

Nevada orders casinos, all other nonessential businesses to close

March 18 (Reuters) - Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak shut down all nonessential businesses, including the Las Vegas casinos at the heart of the state’s economy, as part of steps to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“This is only common sense,” Sisolak said at a press conference in Las Vegas.

“In a time where people are getting sick from simply being near others, this is not the time for gyms to remain open. This is not the time for casinos to remain open. This is not a time for community recreation centers, clubhouses, movie theaters and malls to remain open.”

Essential services, such as fire, police, transit, and health care services would remain open. Sisolak also exempted businesses that provide food, shelter, or social services for disadvantaged populations from closing.

In response, companies including casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp said they would temporarily shut down their establishments.

“It has become clear that we must take this extreme action to help contain the virus and protect the safety and well-being of our team members and guests,” said Caesars Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Tony Rodio.

The highly contagious respiratory illness is on the rise in the United States, with more than 6,400 people infected and at least 109 dead. (Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Graff)

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