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Caesars requiring staff to get tested for coronavirus amid uptick in county

Updated July 9, 2020 - 5:17 pm

Caesars Entertainment Corp. is requiring all of its Clark County employees get tested for COVID-19 this month.

Spokesman Richard Broome said the decision is based on the recent increases in positive coronavirus cases across the county. The mandatory testing program began June 29.

“We thought mandatory testing would be a good way to identify employees who might be positive for COVID-19 without knowing it (i.e. asymptomatic) and wouldn’t realize they could be spreading the virus at work,” he said via email. “The number of cases was much lower when we started reopening properties on June 4.”

Employees will be removed from the work schedule if they fail to get tested by July 17, Broome said.

Caesars operates 10 properties in Clark County: Bally’s, Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Flamingo, Linq Hotel, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Rio, Harrah’s Las Vegas and Harrah’s Laughlin.

At least four Caesars staff members have tested positive for COVID-19: two at Flamingo, one at Linq Hotel and another at Caesars Palace, who died.

Clark County recorded 472 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths over the preceding day, according to data published Wednesday by the Southern Nevada Health District.

New cases were below the daily average of 615 over the preceding week. The health district also reported 36 new hospitalizations, well above the daily average of just under 20 over the preceding week.

Testing across the Strip

Las Vegas casino operators have taken different approaches to employee testing.

All Wynn Resorts Ltd. employees were tested before they were allowed to come to work, according to spokesman Michael Weaver. He said the company since has engaged in a consistent program of rotating testing.

“For example, 500 employees went through the testing rotation (Tuesday),” he said. “This is an ongoing program.”

Las Vegas Sands employees were tested before its Las Vegas properties reopened June 4, according to spokesman Keith Salwoski.

“To provide further peace of mind, complimentary testing was also offered to household members, with more than 6,000 additional tests performed,” he said. “During this time, testing was also extended to many third-parties, like our gondoliers and employees of many partner restaurants.”

Certain Sands employees are required to get tested monthly. More than 6,000 employees in front-line positions, as well as many third-party employees, were tested for round two in June. Its third round of monthly COVID-19 testing is set to start July 14.

Every staff member is offered the opportunity to be tested every month. Testing is also available for employees who report having COVID-19 symptoms or are suspected of possible exposure to a COVID-19 source through contact tracing.

Boyd Gaming Corp.’s Las Vegas staff members were tested before they returned to work, and all Boyd Gaming staff has access to follow-up testing resources as needed, according to spokesman David Strow. He added that all COVID-19 tests are provided at no charge to employees.

According to MGM Resorts International spokesman Brian Ahern, the company offers free testing to all employees upon their return to work. It also requires testing if employees exhibit symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, and it has made tests available in other circumstances.

All Station Casinos employees received an antigen COVID-19 test before casinos were allowed to reopen June 4, according to spokesman Michael Britt.

The company also regularly tests employees, with more than 2,200 Station Casino employees — and partner and vendor employees — tested and retested since reopening, “all with a view to ensuring the safety and well-being of its team members, its guests and the general public,” Britt said.

All new hires at Station Casinos and its partners and vendors will be tested before starting work, with testing paid for by the company, he added.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. 

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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