Casino Drive, normally bustling with visitors to Laughlin’s casino resorts and other locations, is empty on Sunday afternoon following orders to close all non-essential businesses in Nevada in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

BULLHEAD CITY — Gov. Steve Sisolak last week ordered the closure of Nevada’s trademark casinos, an announcement that reverberated on both sides of the Colorado River.

“This is affecting the lives of our citizens. People are dying. Every day that is delayed here, I’m losing a dozen people on the back end that are going to die as a result of this,” Sisolak said at a news conference.

Sisolak ordered a monthlong freeze on gambling, shutting down everything from the famous casino resorts to slot machines found in convenience stores, cutting off an industry that fuels the state’s tourism and hospitality-powered economy.

Bullhead City officials, who were gathered for a city council meeting while Sisolak was making the announcement, were quick to react.

“There are 8,000 Bullhead City residents that could be impacted,” said Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter when he found out the order likely was to occur. 

An estimated 8,000 employees of the casinos and their associated properties live on the Arizona side of the river. 

Mayor Tom Brady said that “with the casinos shutting down, there will be people unable to pay their rents.”

Bullhead City’s economy also is dependent on tourism, much of it generated by the lure of the casino resorts in Laughlin that offer not only gaming and lodging but entertainment, dining and other activities.

Laughlin properties reacted quickly but quietly.

“Following the direction from the governor of Nevada, we are suspending operations,” said a message on the Aquarius Casino Resort’s Facebook page. “...We will reopen as soon as we are permitted and when we do, we look forward to providing the same incredible service, entertainment and river fun that make Aquarius and Laughlin great.”

Similar messages appeared on other property websites and social media pages.

Sisolak’s broad directive also includes the monthlong closure of nonessential businesses like bars, movie theaters and gyms at noon today. Restaurants must shutter their dining rooms and offer only takeout or delivery.

“No dine-in at food establishments should be allowed until further notice,” Sisolak said. “This also includes food courts, coffee shops, catered events, clubs, bowling alleys and other similar venues in which people congregate for the consumption of food or beverages. Pubs, wineries, bars and breweries that do not include meals provided by a full kitchen must close.

“To summarize: I am telling nonessential businesses you have two choices: One, find a way to service your customers through delivery, drive through, curbside pickup or front door pickup, or two, close your doors.”

The closures are part of federal guidance recommending social distancing. President Donald Trump has urged Americans to follow sweeping guidelines for the next few weeks, including for older residents to stay home and for all people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 as well as restaurants and bars.

What is essential?

Essential businesses that will stay open include:

Gas stations

Convenience stores

Banks and financial institutes

Hardware stores


Child day cares

Restaurants with delivery and take-out options

Emergency services

Hospitals and medical facilities

Garbage collection companies

Post Office/Fedex/UPS


Big-box stores.

(6) comments


We all agree on social distancing, the casinos can make arrangements to qualify for that order. In this area how many people have been infected? Low ....


Verify driver's licenses/IDs when accepting reservations and when checking in at hotel/casinos. Ban everyone from "hot zones" like NY, NJ, LA. Detroit and Chicago and all non-U.S. citizens especially from Asia until 2021 at least.

Desert Bat

When the casinos re-open, don't expect quick fill-ups. People plan vacations months beforehand, they have lost wages, and their investments have tanked.


Now would be a good time to clean ventilation systems and open up smoke free. Over 800 smoke free casinos and gaming locations in the US now. This virus attacks the lungs. So does tobacco smoke. Protect employees and us gamers. Please.


[beam]Absolutely. Give the smokers a small walled off area to puff themselves to death. Non-smoking restaurants everywhere these days, casinos need to get with the times!


I live in Phoenix, always look Forward to being there love the Casino's & Pints Restaurant .

Very Sorry for Everyone concerned God bless Bullhead City& Nevada Residents hopefully things we change soon first All of Us, Be Strong💪👍🤗

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