weather icon Clear

Casino may pay $1M in bonuses if staff get vaccinated by May 1

Updated April 14, 2021 - 7:27 pm

Getting a COVID-19 vaccination could result in a cash bonus for workers at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The Strip property has committed to paying upward of $1 million in cash bonuses if 80 percent of its workforce receive their first dose by May 1. Those who choose not to get vaccinated will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test.

“We believe that expediting the vaccination process is the most effective and integral step towards ensuring our employees’ and our guests’ safety and the successful return of travel to our city,” Cosmopolitan President and CEO William McBeath said in a Tuesday statement. “As an industry, we know that time is of the essence in working towards our shared goal — keeping our staff protected and welcoming guests back safely to the destination.”

The push for vaccinations

The cash incentive is a tiered system: The more workers vaccinated, the larger the bonus.

According to a letter sent to employees and obtained by the Review-Journal, a 60 percent vaccination rate would result in a $50 cash bonus for vaccinated staff members. Seventy percent would mean a $100 bonus, 80 percent would be $250, 90 percent $350 and 100 percent would be $500.

The Cosmopolitan’s new vaccination policy, which went into effect Tuesday, is a response to the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s push to get more hospitality workers vaccinated. The state’s top gaming regulatory body said this month that it would increase floor occupancy only for licensees that have taken “measurable and material steps to vaccinate, and thereby, protect their workforce, visitors, and the community.”

Nevada casinos are operating at 50 percent occupancy under state orders, but the Control Board is slated to gain the authority to set occupancy limits for gaming floors May 1. Gov. Steve Sisolak said Tuesday that he wants to see the entire state get to 100 percent capacity by June 1.

The Cosmopolitan’s letter to employees says the resort has “a long way to go” in getting staff members vaccinated.

“The Cosmopolitan’s successful return to full operation depends on how many of us are fully vaccinated,” the letter, signed by Chief People Officer Daniel Espino, reads. “We strongly encourage you to inform yourself with the data and facts that exist supporting the efficacy of this vaccine.”

Weekly COVID-19 testing

Unvaccinated employees at The Cosmopolitan working three or fewer days per week must get tested once a week, and those working four or more days must get tested twice per week, effective May 1.

Free COVID-19 testing is offered to employees at sites across the Las Vegas Valley. The company also offers on-site testing, but costs there could add up fast. While The Cosmopolitan would fully cover the $100 cost of on-site COVID-19 tests, employees would be responsible for $30 third-party staffing fees.

The property began offering free on-site vaccinations to more than 4,000 employees and their immediate household members March 22. The property has invested more than $40 million in COVID-19 relief efforts.

Other local casino operators have also taken steps to get workers vaccinated. Wynn Resorts Ltd. announced last week that unvaccinated workers would have to take a weekly COVID-19 test and offers on-site vaccinations to employees. Other casino operators offer in-house vaccination sites, including Las Vegas Sands Corp., Red Rock Resorts Inc., MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Inc.

On Tuesday, Nevada’s positivity rate for COVID-19 climbed back above the 5 percent benchmark recommended by the World Health Organization for the first time in nearly a month. Additionally, the Southern Nevada Health District revealed Monday that all three known cases in Nevada of a Brazilian coronavirus strain thought to be resistant to vaccine were in Clark County residents.

Roughly one-quarter of Nevadans 16 and older have been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, according to data from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.