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Cirque combats COVID by requiring vaccinations

Updated July 28, 2021 - 1:31 pm

With two shows having lifted off and three on the tarmac, Cirque du Soleil is enforcing COVID vaccinations for all of its Las Vegas employees.

“The health and safety of our employees remains our top priority. We will require all show staff, artists and technicians to be fully vaccinated,” Cirque spokeswoman Ann Paladie said in a statement Monday night. “Given the unique nature of our productions and operations, it is imperative that we embark on this process to maintain the continuity of our operations.

“At this time, our artists will be performing in masks when safely able to. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments when warranted.”

The policy was initiated in June, as “Mystere” at Treasure Island and “O” at Bellagio reopened. Cirque is due to return “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay on Aug. 19, and “Love” at the Mirage on Aug. 26. “Ka” is due to open by the end of October.

Prior to COVID, Cirque employed about 1,370 employees in Las Vegas. CEO Daniel Lamarre says the majority of those who were laid off during the pandemic are returning to work or already have (the company has not yet furnished an updated number of cast and crew coming back online).

The company originally offered a $200 incentive to employees providing a proof of full vaccination by June 25. Those who decline the vaccination are sent home or can claim a religious exemption.

The masking requirement does not apply to such “danger” acts as straps, trapeze, Chinese poles and planche/teeter board. But away from the stage, all Cirque employees are masked.

Spiegelworld adjusts

Rising COVID case numbers have prompted Spiegelworld to remove some of the seats closest to the stage at “Atomic Saloon Show” at The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. Otherwise, that show and “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace run at full capacity. “Absinthe” is maintaining its 16-show-per-week schedule.

Spiegelworld is also reopening “Opium” at the Cosmopolitan on Sept. 24.

To counter COVID concerns, Spiegelworld is also mandating:

• All front of house staff and crew wear masks at “Absinthe” and “Atomic Saloon Show.”

• Fully vaccinated artists do not have to wear masks while on stage.

• All artists must wear masks while backstage and in dressing rooms.

• Weekly testing of all unvaccinated employees (testing is also offered to vaccinated employees, but not required).

Across the company, Spiegelworld reports it has a 90-percent vaccination rate across the company.

Cinema de Nico

Capo’s Restaurant and Speakeasy founder Nico Santucci is also a filmmaker. And, he’s made a film, “Sarogeto,” being premiered 9;30 p.m. Wednesday at the Action On Film Megafest at Galaxy Theaters Boulevard Mall.

Santucci wrote and directed the film over the past 18 months. Eric Roberts (“Star 80,” “Runaway Train”) is in the cast. So is Angelica Bridges, whom we got to know during her stint as singer in “Fantasy” at Luxor about a decade ago.

Santucci, whose restaurant was given a once-over a couple months ago on “Bar Rescue,” says he’s pleased the film has picked up recognition at several film festivals. This year, he submitted “Sarogeto” in the Vegas Film Festival and the Las Vegas Asian Film Festival.

“It’s been an incubator for a year and a half, nobody knew about it, so I had no gauge about how it would be received,” Santucci said. “The first time I saw it with other people was in a theater, and the response was great. It’s been very rewarding. We’ll see where it goes.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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