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Casino workers’ union calls for all guests to wear masks

June 22, 2020 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A union representing workers in Las Vegas casinos on Monday again called for all customers and workers in reopened casinos to wear face masks and for daily cleanings of guest rooms and regular testing of all workers for the coronavirus.

The Culinary Union said an order by gambling regulators last week protects dealers by requiring face masks to be worn by gamblers at table games. But the union said those same protections need to be broadened to protect bartenders, cocktail waitresses, cleaners and other workers who interact with guests.

The union is calling for the governor, Nevada Gaming Control Board and Clark County Commission, which oversees the Las Vegas Strip, to impose stricter safety measures.

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Yolanda Scott, a food server at a coffee shop at Treasure Island, estimated 10% of guests are wearing masks in public spaces at the resort.

“That concerns me because I don’t feel safe. I do not want to bring the COVID-19 back to my family, my children. My partner has a bad kidney and a bad heart and we have to be extra cautious,” she said.

Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer, said workers are afraid to go back to work because they know the number of virus cases is going up in Nevada. She said 17 union members or people in their immediate family have died from COVID-19 since the outbreak started in Nevada.

Argüello-Kline questioned why Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak isn’t following the lead of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who last week required that people wear masks in most indoor settings and outdoors when they aren’t able to socially distance.

Sisolak’s office did not immediately respond to a message seeking a comment. On Friday, Sisolak said in a tweet that he was asking a team of doctors who have been advising him to evaluate potential options for face-covering policies.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that Atlantic City’s casinos will be able to reopen July 2 at 25% capacity and guests and employees will have to wear face masks and undergo some level of health screening.

Nevada’s casinos reopened June 4, after being closed for more than 11 weeks.

Two employees at the Flamingo tested positive, Caesars Entertainment said Friday. The company announced the next day that it temporarily closed Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the Linq after an employee tested positive. Caesars did not immediately respond to a message inquiring if the restaurant had reopened.

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Last week, the Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio closed for several days after an employee tested positive for the virus. It reopened Saturday.

Nevada on Monday reported 330 new cases of COVID-19.

Twice last week on Thursday and Friday, Nevada hit its highest daily count of coronavirus cases, which officials said could only be partially attributed to more widespread testing.

Overall, more than 13,500 cases of the virus have been reported in Nevada, including 489 deaths.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

In other developments:

__The governor pushed back Monday against President Donald Trump’s comments at a weekend rally suggesting that testing should slow down. Sisolak’s office said the governor brought up the president’s comments during a conference call involving the nation’s governors and Vice President Mike Pence. Sisolak told Pence the president’s comments were “not helpful.” The governor’s office did not respond to inquiries seeking information about the vice president’s response.

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