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MGM entertainment division expected to announce permanent layoffs for many workers

A “large majority” of the employees working in MGM Resorts International’s entertainment and sports division is likely to be permanently laid off at the end of next month because of coronavirus closures halting most entertainment operations.

“When our properties closed in March, we were hopeful that our closure would be brief and we would soon be back to entertaining our guests,” division president George Kliavkoff wrote in a letter to employees. “Based on health data we now have, we do not believe it will be safe to restart shows prior to Aug. 31.”

An MGM spokesman on Monday confirmed the validity of the letter, but declined to say how many employees would be affected. In a statement, the company added that it continues to “coordinate with public officials and look forward to the time when we can bring back employees to support our entertainment offerings and relaunch entertainment for our guests.”

Most of MGM’s Strip resorts have reopened at limited capacity after nearly 80 days of state-mandated closures starting in mid-March out of coronavirus concerns, though a small number of properties — including the Mirage and Park MGM — remain closed.

“We remain committed to reopening all of our entertainment venues when it is safe to do so, and our plan is to call back as many of our division’s employees as possible as quickly as we can,” Kliavkoff said in the letter. “The decision about when to reinstate entertainment at our properties will continue to be driven by health and safety mandates and guidelines established by government agencies and by business demand.”

Furloughed or laid-off employees can apply to take advantage of an MGM financial assistance program designed to help pay for expenses like rent, groceries and utilities, the company said.

Employees separated from the company in August will be eligible for the program through Nov. 29, the company said. Through Monday, the fund had dispersed more than $11 million in emergency grant payments.