Virus Outbreak Vegas Casinos

People play blackjack at the reopening of the Bellagio hotel and casino Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Las Vegas. Casinos in Nevada were allowed to reopen on Thursday for the first time after temporary closures as a precaution against the coronavirus.

(The Center Square) – Patrons were allowed to return to Nevada casinos on Thursday. Although the Nevada Gaming Control Board would not release reopening plans, saying communications between a gaming licensee and the board are confidential, many gaming establishments have released their COVID-19 safety plans on their websites.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 was initially vocal about the Gaming Control Board's lack of transparency, saying reopening plans needed to be known for the health and safety of employees and patrons.

“Nevada has a chance to be a leader in the hospitality industry," Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, told Casino.org. "If casino companies will not release their plans and be transparent before reopening, how can customers and workers know they will be safe?”

In response, the Culinary Union has launched a new website, CulinaryClean.org, that lists reopening properties, a checklist of health and safety procedures and whether each property is complying with those safety procedures. This is a way to track what casino employers are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“From dealers to bellmen, cooks to guest room attendants, all casinos workers deserve to be safe and protected,” Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union, said in a news release. “The Culinary Union demands that the Nevada Gaming Commission, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and the Clark County Commission mandate all casinos follow the updated guidance from SNHD regarding COVID-19 testing of 100% of front-line workers.”

So far, 16 Culinary Union workers and family members have died from complications due to COVID-19.

The five factors being tracked by the Culinary Union are required daily cleaning of guest rooms, mandatory testing of all employees for COVID-19 before returning to work, providing adequate PPE for employees, enforcing social distancing and other prevention measures and posting a COVID-19 safety plan on a public-facing website.

Some establishments have released detailed reopening plans. MGM Resorts International released a 19-page, seven-point safety plan that it will use across all of its U.S. properties. Caesars Entertainment employees will be required to wear masks. Social distancing will be enforced, seats at gaming tables will be reduced and operate only select slot machines to encourage distance between customers. In April, The Venetian released a document with 800 steps to keep the property safe when it reopens. Wynn Resorts and Station Casinos have also publicly released reopening information.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has released a set of health and safety policies for the resumption of gaming activities; that information can be found here.