Convention workers’ hopes ride on safety plans from MGM, other properties

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — In a sign of better things to come, MGM Resorts released a health and safety protocol for meetings and conventions. It’s good news for the thousands who work in the convention industry and have been out of work for six months.

Convention stagehand Michael McKeen is hopeful many can return to some sort of work soon, especially with MGM safety plan released Tuesday. Other companies are working on their own plans.

“Having all of these people out of work is a huge blow to the economy,” McKeen said.

McKeen has been out of work since the pandemic put a stop to conventions.

“Even a few days a week means people don’t have to collect unemployment,” he said.

The “convene with confidence” plan covers everything from arrivals to physical distancing.

It also details an optional health screening plan that includes a 20-minute COVID-19 test.

“It sends a signal that we are going to get back,” McKeen said. “We are coming back and you can start planning your events.”

Thousands of people are waiting for the news that could help them get back to work.

Michele Rothstein owns Balloons with a Twist, and large events like conventions are big moneymakers.

“We have had to pivot multiple times during this pandemic as most people have,” she said. “We have had to cut down our workforce quite a bit.”

She thinks people can get back to work in a safe manner.

“I’d like to see that come back, and I would like to see it be done safely and I think there is a way for that to be done.

Both McKeen and Rothstein say they expected changes to events like conventions.

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