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Pandemic forces Las Vegas hospitality industry to make major adjustments

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — COVID-19 continues to impact the economy, forcing Las Vegas' hospitality industry to make some major adjustments.

MGM Resorts International announced hotel tower operations will stop at the Mirage and Mandalay Bay during the week, Monday through Thursday, starting Nov. 30. The company says the decision is due to underwhelming occupancy rates amid the pandemic.

"It's not surprising," said hospitality expert and UNLV gaming historian David Schwartz. "The key here is that it's just the hotels that are closing."

He says the good news is both resorts will continue to operate their casinos and restaurants. That is what Park MGM is already doing, after the property announced its midweek hotel closure earlier this month.

"The other amenities are going to stay open, and MGM has many hotels on the Strip, so they could redirect those people to other hotels," Schwartz said... Read More

Only On 8: Family of hit-and-run victim seeks justice in his death

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A week after he lost his life, the family of hit-and-run victim Renick Lambey is fighting to find the suspect in his death. 

The 61-year-old was hit and killed by a car while riding his wheelchair on Abels Lane, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Lamb Boulevard. 

Police said the driver took off without stopping to help Lambey after the crash, which happened around 5:25 p.m. on Thursday, November 12. 

Lambey's wife and son spoke with 8 News Now Friday, sharing about the person he was and how much they will always miss him.  ... Read More

Local unions say support staff blindsided by potential CCSD cuts

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Some Clark County School District support staff could be cut if full-time distance learning continues this academic year. This is based on a financial impact summary presented to the board of trustees Thursday night.

"We were blindsided," said Jason Gateley, vice president and director of organizing for Teamsters Local 14. "The workers were blindsided by this."

Jan Giles, interim president of the Education Support Employees Association (ESEA), noted, "We are the ones that keep the district up and running and operational."

Local unions representing district support staff say potential cuts show inequities in the system.

"Let's destroy the workers at the bottom," lamented Gateley, "and let's not talk about sacrifice at the top. That's what is surprising and alarming." ... Read More

DETR officials address staffing, overpayment as UI questions continue to pour in

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Many unemployment claimants have come to 8 News Now with questions about ongoing issues. We spoke with top Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) officials to get your questions answered.

They tell us they know many are out there still waiting for benefits, and they hope to process a lot more in the coming weeks.

"In PUA, at least we are getting very close to having a resolution for most of the folks who have come in," said Elisa Cafferata, DETR director.

From the backlog of claims to additional staff, we discussed a number of topics with the DETR director and strike force leader.

"Between the staffing and the automation, again, we are hoping to see large amounts of clearances in the next two weeks," said Barbara Buckley, DETR strike force leader. ... Read More

People involved recount morning of deadly MGM Grand fire 40 years later

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Tomorrow will mark 40 years since one of the worst disasters in Nevada history. A deadly fire at the former MGM Grand Hotel & Casino killed 87 people and injured hundreds of others.

8 News Now sat down with the people who not only helped fight the flames, but survived.

The MGM Grand is now Bally's Las Vegas on Flamingo near Las Vegas Boulevard. The building still stands today, but with a history not many can forget.

Former slot mechanic Charlie Lombardo showed us gaming chips that were melted together and snapshots that captured the devastation of the deadly fire.

"It was a fireball," he recounted.

Video from that day shows plumes of smoke rising from the building. An electrical fire in the deli restaurant spread through the casino, which did not have sprinklers.

Lombardo recalls crawling on his hands and knees to get out after hearing an overhead announcement to evacuate the building. ... Read More

UNLV Police looking for man who allegedly showed gun while asking women for phone numbers

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- UNLV Police are investigating an incident on the campus in which a man pointed a gun at three UNLV students.

According to University Police, on Thursday, Nov. 19, around 11:30 a.m., the women were walking in the area of the Bank of America southeast of the UNLV campus along Maryland Parkway. The students reported that a man approached them in a white Nissan Sentra and attempted to obtain their phone numbers. 

During the encounter, the women told police that the man displayed and pointed a handgun toward the students... Read More

Officials say Stay at Home 2.0 appears to be working, but it may not be enough

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Nevada's COVID-19 response director shared some encouraging news today: Stay at Home 2.0 appears to be working. However, it may not be enough.

We could be hearing from Gov. Steve Sisolak about additional guidelines over the next few days. State leaders and health officials have been trying to figure out how to protect public health, as well as our state's economy.

It's a challenge, especially in a state that relies so heavily on tourism.

The 14-day positivity rate is 15.8% -- 5% is considered too high.

Hospitalizations in Southern Nevada are continuing to increase. There is a strain on healthcare staffing, licensed beds and space.

Officials are considering a balanced approach to address this. ... Read More