As many areas around the world reopen after the COVID pandemic, there are some difficult decisions that still must be made. In hard hit Las Vegas, these decisions are magnified because of the economy being based on the tourism industry. Thus, the decision by Wynn Las Vegas regarding the numerous COVID vaccinations in use currently might be a move that others in the gaming industry look at, especially in Sin City.
Wynn Memo Mandates Vaccination for Employees
According to the Twitter feed of Las Vegas Locally, Wynn Las Vegas will mandate that all employees of the casino will have to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus as of April 25. After that point, any employee who chooses not to have a vaccination will be required to show weekly that they are COVID-free through a valid test. That test costs $15 per shot and, according to Marilyn Spiegel, the President of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, the new rule is not only necessary but required by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
“My goal, as it has always been, is to offer our guests and employees the safest vacation and work environment possible,” Spiegel states in the letter to Wynn employees. In mandating the vaccination protocols, Spiegel also says that the NGCB has “urged resorts to ensure that all employees who can safely receive the COVID-19 vaccine be vaccinated.” With full vaccination, Spiegel writes, the property can reduce the restrictions that are currently in effect in Nevada’s gaming industry.
The mandatory vaccination plan could become a staple across the hospitality industry and maybe even the gaming industry. Because of the personal contact with the public, it is important that the resorts, hotels and casinos employees be as COVID free as possible. The vaccinations are a big part of that plan, alongside the sanitation procedures that the businesses already have in place.
Three Vaccines, All Successful
To this point, the Center for Disease Control has granted “emergency approval” to three vaccines that have gone out around the world. Those three vaccines – from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson – are administered in two doses (Pfizer and Astra Zeneca) or a singular shot (J&J). At least one of those shots has been given to approximately 35% of the U. S. population, or more than 115 million people. Worldwide, 773 million doses have been administered, or roughly 11% of the world’s population.
The release of the vaccines has not been without some issues. Some side effects to the vaccines, such as muscle soreness, fatigue, fever, and other issues are an expected reaction that the body will have to a vaccine. There have been others, such as blood clots, that have arisen, but they have been investigated and the vaccines have not been found to be the cause of the issues.
Las Vegas = Vaccine City?
If the Wynn letter is to be believed, many other casinos in Las Vegas, and in Nevada as a whole, will be moving towards this mandated vaccine. If it means that a casino or hotel property can increase their accepted capacities and bring more revenue in, then the casinos and hotel properties are going to do everything they can to make it happen. What it does not say – other than mandating a clean COVID test weekly, paid for by the employee – is what other ramifications might be implemented.
Furthermore, this also does not give any clues as to what Nevada plans to do with their convention industry and, perhaps most important to poker fans, the large-scale events such as the World Series of Poker. There is discussion in the travel industry that some sort of verification of a COVID vaccination may be mandated, but will these special events in Las Vegas be subjected to the same levels that the employees are having implemented? While the WSOP is not until September, there are still several hurdles to be cleared and vaccinations is one of those hurdles.