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Strip casinos close, leaving many tourists scrambling

Posted at 11:10 PM, Mar 17, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Anthony Ollee wasn't planning to head home until Thursday, but he spent Tuesday morning packing his bags in his room at the Cosmopolitan.

"it's actually been pretty stressful," Ollee said. "Supposed to be a vacation but it's just not feeling like one right now."

Monday afternoon, just after arriving for his brother's wedding week, Ollee saw the news online.

"They came by and knocked on everyone's doors and handed us paperwork saying this is the time and this is what's happening," Ollee said

The Cosmopolitan's plan to close by Wednesday at 6pm followed both MGM Resorts and the Wynn's historic announcements Sunday. The casinos that had not already planned to close will now do so, after Governor Sisolak's announcement Tuesday.

Ollee said his family considered canceling their trip - and several people did.

"A lot of family members that are surrounded by elders back in Tennessee weren't able to make it, including my mom because it's advised 65 and older not to travel," Ollee said.

It's a consideration many tourists made before coming. Shakaila and Destinee flew in from DC on Saturday - before major closures rolled out.

"We knew it was going to happen but not like drastically," said Destinee, who added that the women had done more sightseeing than partying.

Since arriving, they've seen a noticeable change on the Strip.

"Less people by the day. Glad that we're going home tomorrow - won't want to get quarantined here," she said, hours before the Governor's announcement.

Ashtyn Martinson boarded a flight in Boston Sunday. She landed to a changed Vegas.

"Since being here it's been a little bit of like the walking dead," said said. "There's hardly anyone around. We've been to Vegas multiple times and i've never seen the streets like this."

Her family had tickets to Chris Angel and La Reve at the Wynn - both shows were canceled. They've been told refunds will take 7-14 business days.

"Just kind of blindsided but I mean, we totally understand why they're taking precautions and that's understandable. It's for the health and safety of Americans. We understand."