FILE - Casino, gambling

Caesar's Palace casino resort in Las Vegas.

(The Center Square) – The Nevada Resort Association is warning that an extended shutdown of the state's resorts and casinos would be devastating for the industry's workers.

In a letter to Nevada's Congressional delegation, the association estimates that 320,000 employees are “at risk” because of the economic downturn.

“Nevada could quickly see its unemployment rate increase above 30 percent,” the association said. “The ensuing strain on state and local governments and other service providers, which are disproportionately reliant on tourism-related tax revenues and will quickly deplete unemployment insurance funds and reserves, would be catastrophic.”

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak last Tuesday ordered all nonessential businesses to close in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order includes casinos, hotels, fitness clubs, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and others. It was for 30 days but could be extended as the number of cases of COVID-19 continue their rapid increase across the country.

“Nevada is the crossroads where all the segments of the travel industry meet – making us the national epicenter of economic devastation cause by COVID-19,” the association said.