No buffets, providing masks for guests among union's recommendations for casino reopening

Tuesday 5th May 2020

The parent organization of the Culinary Union has developed a detailed set of safety guidelines it wants to see implemented before casinos reopen to the public -- and they are significantly more rigorous than the general recommendations offered by state gaming regulators.

The six-page checklist released by UNITE HERE at a virtual press conference on Tuesday recommends everything from offering surgical masks for all guests to wear in public places to offering contactless tipping options and offering staff company-funded tests to determine a person's current and past COVID-19 status.

"The health and safety of both workers and casino guests is our union's top priority, which is why UNITE HERE consulted with public health professionals and industrial hygiene experts to develop a set of health and sanitation guidelines for gaming facilities," UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor said in a statement. "The casino companies need to work with us to ensure a healthy and safe environment when casinos re-open, and if they won't, the gaming regulators of the states in which they operate must take action."

Casinos were declared non-essential businesses and ordered closed in mid-March. Gov. Steve Sisolak has said the Nevada Gaming Control Board will have to approve any plans for casinos to reopen, and that they wouldn't be opening at the beginning of "Phase 1" -- a period that is expected to begin around May 15 if health metrics show the virus subsiding.

The Gaming Control Board issued guidance on Friday laying out baseline safety measures it expects from casinos seeking to reopen. Those include promoting social distancing, such as by thinning out chairs around gaming tables, and keeping nightclubs and dayclubs closed until further notice.

UNITE HERE is making even more specific recommendations. They include:

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