After months of lockdown, Las Vegas casino reopened again to huge crowds. But a recent spike in COVID-19 cases threatens public safety again; and some casinos are keeping quiet about it.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak initially shut down all casinos in the state to lower the risk of coronavirus infections. But when the casinos reopened recently, many visitors ignored the mask rules, prompting the governor to make masks mandatory in all casinos.
But casino staff started testing positive for COVID-19 again, but instead of closing the casinos in question, the owners are keeping quiet about it. Casinos are not required to report positive cases of coronavirus infection, which puts profits over people yet again.
While it’s true that Nevada relies heavily on gambling to keep their coffers full, many question the decision to reopen the casinos too soon. The governor himself said that the pandemic is far from over in a public statement.
“We’re in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic, we’re right dead smack in the middle of it,” Sisolak told reporters at a press conference. “Nevadans have made enormous sacrifices to get us to where we are today … I don’t want to let that all go for naught by us having to take a giant step backwards.”
Casino Workers with COVID-19
Not long after Las Vegas casinos reopened, the city showed a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases. And some of those cases occurred in casinos. But when staff members at certain casinos were tested positive for COVID-19, the news was kept secret.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Aileen Rotzin, a cage cashier at the M Resort, is reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus. But instead of alerting authorities or other employees, the M’s human resources department ordered her to remain silent.
When HR said that her infection was “confidential information”, Rotzin stated, “It’s just human decency, with this COVID-19, that they let other people know (when employees test positive).”
The Cosmopolitan casino has had 15 workers who tested positive for the coronavirus, but that number may be higher, as casinos are trying to suppress the news. And the workers are not happy about it.
It certainly seems that casinos are gambling with people’s lives to keep the cash flowing. And casino workers are gagged and powerless to speak up. To make matters worse, Nevada’s unemployment benefits will run out within a month, forcing workers to remain in unsafe conditions.
25% of Nevada’s workforce is currently out of work, the worst unemployment figures in the entire U.S. But if the pandemic doesn’t end soon, the government will have to step up to force the casinos’ hand. Because hiding coronavirus infection numbers is only going to make the situation worse.
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