LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The furloughs for thousands of MGM Resorts International employees may turn into layoffs by Aug. 31, according to a letter that was sent to employees Tuesday. The letter obtained by 8 News NOW was from the President and Acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle.

The letter said the temporary closure in March has made things very challenging for the company and industry.

“When we first furloughed our employees, we hoped the spread of the virus could be contained or that an effective treatment would emerge quickly,” Hornbuckle said. “We hoped that a significant portion of our operations would bounce back by the summer. However, that outlook has continued to evolve as COVID-19 cases spread throughout the world. Based on the current situation, we now believe that some of our colleagues may not return to work this year. And, given the continued uncertainty facing our industry, we simply don’t know just how many employees will return to work within the coming months.”

Although the employees who are furloughed are facing possible layoffs, MGM Resorts International says it will keep health insurance intact through, August. 31. Initially, the deadline was June 30.

“One of our priorities throughout this public health crisis is ensuring that our employees have continued access to health care, even if they’re not currently working,” said Hornbuckle. “That’s why, as the future remains uncertain, we’ve decided to extend our commitment to providing furloughed employees with health coverage. All furloughed employees enrolled in our MGM Resorts Health Plan will now receive continued benefits – with no employee contribution for the premiums – through Aug. 31, 2020.”

The letter said MGM is also continuing to process grants for employee expenses like rent, mortgage payments, groceries, and utilities through the Employee Emergency Grant Fund. The fund recently surpassed $13 million, thanks to contributions from company leaders, partners, and other supporters.

Hornbuckle wrapped up the letter to employees by saying, “When our industry bounces back, we will welcome you with open arms. However, we understand you may find permanent employment elsewhere. We encourage you to do whatever is best for you and your families during this challenging time. Please know that this is a decision we have not taken lightly. I will continue to do all that I can to lead our company on the path forward so that we can welcome as many of you back as quickly as possible. I am confident that MGM Resorts will open its doors again soon, and I hope to see you there when we do. “