- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

LAS VEGAS (AP) - An iconic hotel and casino in Laughlin will extend layoffs for about 400 employees and remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, company officials said.

Golden Entertainment Inc. told employees the Colorado Belle would not reopen whenever Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and gaming regulators authorize it, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“The significant economic impact from the governor’s ordered closure of our industry and continued uncertainty of when we will be allowed to fully resume operations has caused us to make the difficult decision to extend layoffs indefinitely,” Golden Entertainment President Charles Protell said in a statement on Monday.

Employee health care benefits would also end May 31. Employees were first laid off April 3.

Some employees would be given the option to transfer to either two other Laughlin properties or other operations in Las Vegas or Pahrump, company officials said.

“Once we are allowed to open our other Nevada properties, we will have a better sense of the open positions available across the company,” Protell said. “We see this as our only recourse to mitigate ongoing expenses and anticipated reduced business levels while facing competitive pressures from neighboring states allowing their casinos to reopen.”

The Colorado Belle originally opened in 1987, officials said. It looks like a six-deck 19th century Mississippi River riverboat and has about 1,200 hotel rooms, 750 slot machines, 16 table games, a microbrewery and restaurant.

Protell said Golden Entertainment does not have plans to sell the hotel and casino.

“Future plans for the Colorado Belle will be highly dependent on the business volume at our other Laughlin properties and the Laughlin market in general,” he said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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