MGM Resorts warns 2,600 employees of possible layoffs due to effect of COVID-19

MGM Grand Detroit has warned 2,632 employees of possible layoffs due to economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic according to a notice to employees, dated May 5.

The layoffs are expected to be temporary but the company can't specify a return to work date as of now.

And with all casinos closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Detroit is losing big as well.

“It costs us about $600,000 a day," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. "I haven’t complained about it a single day. The health of our community is worth more than the revenue coming in.”

Detroit casinos have been closed since before March 2nd and if you ask Duggan, he believes it will be months before they reopen.

“I think we are a long away," he said. "Six months to a year away from the casinos operating the way we are used to seeing them operate."

He is not the only one who feels this way. On May 5th MGM sent a letter to the state giving notice of the furloughs and possible layoffs of 2,600 employees. 
The Worker Adjustment Retaining Notification Act requires that mass layoffs be reported and public. 
One part of the letter reads:

“Our sincere hope continues to remain that this layoff is temporary, but in light of the continuing pandemic and our extended closure, we are unable to say that the layoff may not last more than six months for at least some portion of our employees," wrote Laura Lee, MGM Resorts International
senior vice president of human resources. "We are providing your agency this notice that the layoff(s)... may continue beyond six months and/or could be permanent.”

Because the casinos are vital to Detroit’s economy measures are in place to try and speed up an opening. 

"We are certainly following with what Las Vegas is looking at, as far as reopening," Duggan said.

And from the mayor’s perspective, there is some optimism, that this is just temporary. 

“Will there be a point where the infection level is low enough in this community, that you could go back and have a quarter or maybe a third of the machines operational with appropriate distancing, cleaning and masks?" he said. "Something like that is in our future, whether it’s in our future in June or August, I can't tell you.”

According to MGM, all employees and their unions have been notified of the layoffs and those currently enrolled in the health plan, will keep their benefits through August at which time, MGM says in the letter, they will cut ties with all employees. No other casino has made the state aware of the impending layoffs.

In a statement, MGM said: 

"We are working to reopen properties and welcome back guests as soon as it is safe to do so. We are doing everything we can to bring back as many employees as we can as quickly as we can."