Microcosm of what’s coming. Conference cancelled. Tonopah NV

Sue and I attend a statewide conference twice a year in Tonopah NV, a town of 3,000 halfway between Reno and Las Vegas. It was scheduled for the end of this month and just got cancelled because of coronavirus. I called the Best Western there to cancel our reservations. The person who answered clearly had been getting these cancellations all day and was a bit shell-shocked. It’s an excellent hotel, walking distance to the venue, and is generally sold out on the convention dates. Now, it’ll be crickets.

Not only does Best Western lose the bookings, they would have scheduled extra staff to help out. Those people now will have their hours cancelled. Ditto for all the other Tonopah hotels. Local restaurants and casinos that expected a boost to business will now be empty (due to no conference and to most everyone now not traveling.) The conference is about 150 people, which is considerable for a small town.

Here in Las Vegas, the Wynn CEO just said they expect 15% occupancy for a while. Ouch. Normal occupancy is 90%+. Restaurants, clubs, stores, buffets, clubs, events. conventions, sports books at Wynn and in every other casino here will be on reduced schedules or closed. This means thousands of workers will be laid off or have drastically reduced hours. This will severely impact the local Vegas economy.

However, Vegas has much deeper pockets than Tonopah. It can survive better. Give a thought to areas like Tonopah who may get clobbered by what’s coming.