Since Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a March 17 mandate to close all nonessential businesses — including casinos, resorts, dine-in restaurants, and bars — in order to stymie the spread of COVID-19, Las Vegas Sands has opted to keep paying its staff of nearly 10,000 at the Venetian and Palazzo while they wait out the virus. That includes nearly 1,200 employees at the resort’s 15 partner restaurants, which cannot offer the takeout and delivery service that many off-Strip restaurants now rely on to keep their employees working.
Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson announced his plans to continue paying his staff as if they were still working in an op-ed piece in the New York Post last week. “We’re even working to make up for lost tips,” he wrote. “I hope to do that right up until the time that we can reopen our businesses.”
Sands covers the payroll costs and healthcare benefits of each restaurant’s salaried employees and pays a weekly stipend for hourly and part-time employees through April 30. Sisolak extended the moratorium on operating a nonessential business through April 30 and urged Nevadans to stay at home.
Those employees work at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s Buddy V’s Ristorante, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Solaro by Wolfgang Puck, the yogurt shop Go Greek Yogurteria, Emeril Lagasse’s sports bar Lagasse’s Stadium, Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano and Sixth + Mill Pizzeria & Bar, David Chang’s Majordomo Meat & Fish and Moon Palace, the Chinese restaurant Mott 32, and Spritz Poolside Restaurant and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar from 50 Eggs. While Lorena Garcia’s Latin restaurant Chica at the Venetian owned by 50 Eggs Hospitality Group’s John Kunkel, does not appear on the list, the company has an agreement in place similar to this one. Spritz planned to open this spring at the pool.
“We partner with several renowned restaurant companies to bring our world-class dining experience to the Venetian,” Rob Goldstein, the president and COO of Las Vegas Sands, said in a press statement. “As part of these partnerships, the restaurants are managed independently from the Venetian resort and employ their own staff. However, these employees are an important part of our family and experience. During these unprecedented times, we are committed to doing what we can to help our culinary community, which is being hit particularly hard during this crisis.”
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, who has two restaurants at the resort, expressed gratitude for the program. “A lot of our employees in our restaurants live week to week, month to month, and for Sheldon Adelson to make it possible for them to get paid and say I will be here for you will mean so much to all of them,” he says in a statement.
Aside for paying its restaurant employees, Sands has also donated 60 pallets of food and more than 55,000 bottles of water to local organizations.