I-Team: Culinary Union calls for mandatory guest face coverings


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Should face coverings be required inside public places like casinos? The Culinary Union is saying yes, and in the meantime, union leaders and workers say people are in danger.

If you’re on social media, you’ve probably seen images of crowded casinos, with employees wearing masks. But not many guests are wearing them.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 says this needs to change.

“I do not want to bring the COVID-19 back to my family, my children,” said casino employee Yolanda Scott. “My partner has a bad kidney and a bad heart, and we have to be extra cautious.”

The Culinary Union reports 17 workers and family members of workers have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

On Monday, during a Zoom press conference, three casino workers and a union leader pointed to face coverings. They want guests to be required to wear them, saying right now, most are not.

“When they come up to my cart, and they ask me for a towel, I’m kinda leery of giving them the towels because they’re not wearing masks,” said employee Diana Thomas.

Some casinos are offering face coverings, but the Culinary Union is calling on the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Gov. Steve Sisolak and the Clark County Commission to mandate their use. Right now, only employees are required to wear them.

“We’ve been asking and asking to the leadership for Nevada, the people that got elected,” said Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline.

On Friday, Sisolak announced he is asking the medical advisory team to evaluate options for enhance face covering polities and to provide any recommendations.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in Nevada and neighboring states, like California, Arizona and Utah.

The union describes the need for a face covering mandate as urgent with lives at risk.

Thomas said she’s concerned for her asthmatic son, “I do not wanna bring anything like that back to him. I would feel so bad if my son gets sick. It’s … we just need to be safe, period.”

The union also called for mandatory testing for all employees. Some gaming groups, like Wynn and Stations Casinos, say they are doing that.

If no changes are made, the Culinary Union said it may take legal action.

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