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Culinary Union Wants Everyone to Wear a Mask to Protect Workers from COVID-19

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Members estimate that between 10 percent and 20 percent of visitors wear a mask

Nevada Casinos Reopen For Business After Closure For Coronavirus Pandemic
Visitors play roulette at Excalibur after it reopened on June 11.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 are calling for anyone visiting a casino or resort to wear mandatory face coverings or masks.

Members of the union, which represents about 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including most of the casinos and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas, applauded the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s move last week to require players at table games to don a mask when a plexiglass barrier was not available between a dealer and players.

But now the union is asking Gov. Steve Sisolak, the gaming board, and Clark County Commissioners, who oversee casinos and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, to require face coverings to protect bartenders, cocktail waitresses, cleaners, and other workers who interact with people.

Three culinary union members estimated in a press conference on Monday that 10 percent to 20 percent of visitors wear a mask.

Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the culinary union’s secretary-treasurer, said workers want to feel safer at work. “We need more protection. I don’t ask for this protection for only the hospitality workers that we represent. We are asking for all the casinos in Nevada,” she said during the press conference on Monday.

“Everyone needs to wear masks because we do have to feel protected,” says Diana Thomas, who is a guest room attendant at the Flamingo. “We’re frontline workers coming back to work. We don’t know who we’re dealing with. We have to all be safe so we can continue work.”

Argüello-Kline says that 17 union members or people in their immediate families have died due to complications of COVID-19 since the coronavirus pandemic first started in March in Nevada.

Argüello-Kline suggested that Nevada should follow California’s lead. Gov Gavin Newsom requires everyone to wear masks or face coverings indoors and in outdoor situations where social distancing is impossible.

Gov. Sisolak said on Friday he is considering adding what he calls “enhanced face covering policies” for Nevadans.

“Nevada Health Response has repeatedly urged the use of face coverings when out in public as one of the strongest methods of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and directives signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak mandate the use of face coverings by employees who interact with the public,” the governor’s office said in a statement on Friday. “As the state evaluates the latest COVID data in Nevada and around the country for potential next steps in the state’s phased reopening plans, Gov. Sisolak is asking the Medical Advisory Team to evaluate potential options for enhanced face covering policies in Nevada and provide any recommendations for consideration to strengthen Nevada’s response to this global pandemic.”

Nevada only requires business employees to wear masks but not customers.

Last week, two people at the Flamingo Las Vegas, and employees at Beauty & Essex at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the Linq, Northside Cafe at the Sahara Las Vegas, and The Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Steve Sisolak closed casinos on March 17 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued guidelines to resorts to reopen that include maintaining 50 percent capacity, masks on staff, cleaning protocols, and social distancing throughout the casino. Casinos were permitted to reopen across the state on June 4. He says the state is not ready to move into phase three of reopening for business as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb statewide.

Clark County recorded 10,774 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 400 deaths since the pandemic first hit the state in March.

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Flamingo Las Vegas

3555 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 733-3111 Visit Website

The Linq

3545 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (866) 328-1888 Visit Website

Northside Cafe

2535 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (855) 761-7763 Visit Website

The Mayfair Supper Club

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S. , Las Vegas, NV 89109 Visit Website

Sahara Las Vegas

2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S. , Las Vegas, NV 89109

Beauty & Essex

3708 South Las Vegas Boulevard, , NV 89109 (702) 737-0707 Visit Website

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 698-7000 Visit Website

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