Coronavirus Ends MSG Sphere, Mandalay Bay Las Vegas Monorail Station Plans

Plans for new Las Vegas Monorail Co. stations at MSG Sphere and Mandalay Bay have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The break at new stations comes as the Las Vegas Strip is all but closed, with the monorail out of service since March 18 following the shutdown of non-essential businesses by Governor Steve Sisolak statewide.

“We have suspended all activities related to the Sands Avenue project and will be evaluating the project in the future,” said Ingrid Reisman, spokesperson for the Las Vegas monorail. “As with the Sands Ave. station, we have suspended all activities related to the Mandalay Bay extension.”

Construction of the MSG sphere was also halted at the end of last month, with the developers citing the pandemic.

Like other companies, monorail officials have asked for federal help to help offset the financial blow caused by the virus.

Monorail officials have requested emergency advance funds for economic disaster loans through the Small Business Administration, Reisman said.

“But (we) haven’t received funding yet,” she said.

The monorail also applied for funds from the Payroll Protection Program, but was told it was not eligible due to its nonprofit status.

As Sisolak works out a plan for a gradual reopening, it’s likely it will be some time before Las Vegas returns to normal visiting levels. As visitors constitute the majority of monorail users, the long-term effects of the closure remain to be seen.

“As normally the majority of monorail riders are visitors, changes in ridership have historically affected our ridership,” said Reisman. “We will have to wait and see what the magnitude of any effect on ridership will be as the number of visits changes as a result of this business disruption.”

The virtual closure of the resort corridor also resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas. The monorail was to play an important role in transporting the hundreds of thousands of people who were to participate in the three-day event.

Once the monorail reopens, it will follow safety guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

“We will continue to follow our governor’s direction and the advice of healthcare professionals to help our community deal with the virus,” Reisman said.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of the President and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Sheldon Adelson. The Sphere is a project of Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Contact Mick Akers at [email protected] or 702-387-2920. To follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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