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Culinary urges gaming commission to make casino reopening plans public

Updated May 7, 2020 - 5:12 am

The Culinary union will ask the Nevada Gaming Commission to make casino reopening plans public in an effort to instill confidence in Nevada’s health and safety requirements.

And union leaders say if the commission won’t order it, they will go to Gov. Steve Sisolak and ask him to require it.

Commissioners scheduled a special meeting Thursday to consider the Gaming Control Board’s two sets of health and safety guidelines for reopening casinos.

The union on Tuesday released its own six-page list of health and sanitation guidelines for gaming facilities.

“The Culinary union urges the Nevada Gaming Commission to incorporate our proposed public health guidelines as a minimum standard in evaluating licensees’ individual plans,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of Culinary Local 226 in Las Vegas.

“In addition, we ask the Nevada Gaming Commission to release publicly all reopening plans submitted by Nevada gaming operators, so the public can have confidence that the Nevada gaming industry is taking all necessary actions to ensure worker and guest safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

Statute requires confidentiality

Sandra Morgan, chairwoman of the Gaming Control Board, which drafted the guidelines that will be considered by the commission, said existing state statutes require material from the licensees be kept confidential.

“(Nevada Revised Statute) 460.120 is pretty clear that documents and information provided to the board and commission within our regulatory authority would be confidential, so that’s statute,” Morgan said. “I can’t override the statute. It’s a legislative action.”

No response from governor

Asked whether the governor could order the reopening plans open, Morgan said, “I don’t want to speak on behalf of the governor’s office. He may have a different opinion, but in my opinion, it’s legislative action, it’s a statute that the board must comply with.”

A representative of the governor’s office did respond to a request for comment.

Argüello-Kline said Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s decision to publicly release its reopening plan provided leadership “that boosts public confidence and trust that Nevada casinos will be safe to visit when they reopen.

“Safety is a matter of life and death for workers and tourists,” she said. “Gaming companies have a responsibility to be transparent with Nevadans as our community fights to control this pandemic. The Culinary union will continue to be vocal on this issue to make sure workers and guests are protected.”

In the union’s teleconference Tuesday, it said that guests should be offered surgical masks and asked to wear them while in public areas; that contactless and cashless tipping systems for guest service providers, such as bellhops, valets, door persons, guest-room attendants and room-service attendants, should be provided; and that all fitness centers, spas and pools should remain closed.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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