Virus Outbreak Vegas Casinos

People play blackjack at the reopening of the Bellagio hotel and casino Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Las Vegas. Casinos in Nevada were allowed to reopen on Thursday for the first time after temporary closures as a precaution against the coronavirus.

(The Center Square) – More than $4 billion was directed to the state of Nevada through the Payroll Protection Program to cover payroll costs, securing 500,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director at National Federation of Independent Business, told The Center Square that while this is good news, she fears that some businesses will have to let employees go once the PPP funds are exhausted since they are still operating at limited capacity.

Some sectors are already seeing job losses. Restaurants are only open at 50 percent capacity. Bars were ordered to close again two weeks ago and casinos continue to announce layoffs, Thompson points out.

"As owners finish using their loan, more are finding that economic conditions are unable to support current staffing levels," Thompson said. "So until we can open up more, I fear we will continue to see job losses."

A recent National Federation of Independent Business study shows that around 22 percent of companies that have accepted PPP loans already have fired workers or expect to fire at least one employee when their loan runs out. This is up from 14 percent in June.

Thompson said Nevada's jobless rate fell the most in the country, dropping by 10.3 points to 15 percent in June. Despite this, Nevada still has the fourth-highest number of unemployed workers in the nation.

"Keeping 500,000 hard-working Nevadans on payroll was significant for that first round of PPP funds, but I’m not sure it’s sustainable to keep them all on payroll until we get our state’s small and big businesses operating closer to normal capacity," Thompson said.

Eligible businesses in need of assistance can apply for the SBA program through Saturday, Aug. 8.