MGM Resorts International has joined a growing list of casino operators allowing vaccinated employees to forego masks.
The company announced Friday that vaccinated guests would not need to wear masks at its Las Vegas properties. On Monday, CEO Bill Hornbuckle sent a memo saying its mask policy had been updated to allow fully vaccinated workers to go maskless as well.
“This is a significant milestone in our efforts to recover and emerge even stronger in a postpandemic environment,” the letter to employees said.
The return to normal
The new mask policies follow a Thursday guidance update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings.
At least one other Strip casino operator, Las Vegas Sands Corp., is still requiring all employees to wear masks for the time being. Caesars Entertainment Inc., The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Treasure Island, Circa, The D, and Wynn Resorts Ltd. have waived mask requirements for vaccinated workers.
MGM employees can verify their vaccination status by uploading a copy of their CDC vaccination card into an online portal. Representatives from Community Ambulance will be onsite at MGM properties later this week to help employees upload their cards into the company’s online system. Verified workers will receive a sticker that will let them work without a mask.
Those who are not verified will be required to continue wearing a mask while at work. Meanwhile, MGM properties will not ask guests for proof of their vaccination status.
Hornbuckle said the company is requiring proof of vaccination among employees because it has the technology to do so, and it believes the approach complies with guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Verifying workers’ vaccination status will also help the company meet standards set by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, he said, which expects MGM employees to continue getting vaccinated in order to continue operating at 100 percent capacity with no social distancing on its casino floors.
Additionally, Hornbuckle said high vaccination rates among the workforce will help large-scale events and convention return by sending “a clear and important signal” that the company cares about health and safety. He also believes more shots in arms will loosen social distancing and capacity limitations even further.
“It’s exciting to see things beginning to return to normal after such a difficult year,” Hornbuckle said. “Seeing guests at our properties sharing memorable experiences with their friends and loved ones brings me great joy. Let’s keep that excitement and momentum going.”
The push for vaccines continues
Hornbuckle urged employees who haven’t yet been vaccinated yet to do so this week. MGM employees can get free vaccinations at onsite property events or the Mandalay Bay Convention Center clinic, which generally operates from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
“Many people are looking to us for assurances that our employees have been vaccinated against coronavirus, and now we must deliver,” Hornbuckle said in the letter. “Together, getting vaccinated and accounting for it will help us all get back to normal.”
MGM Resorts shares closed down 0.9 percent Monday to $38.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.