With hospitality workers eligible for vaccine, Culinary Union pushes for members to get vaccinated

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Big news in Nevada’s fight against the coronavirus: hospitality workers and food service workers in Clark County can now get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those workers are the next group to become eligible in the frontline/essential workforce lane. Casino workers on the Las Vegas Strip and restaurant employees across town have been waiting for this moment for months. Their jobs often require them to come into close contact with people. But now, the vaccine means extra protection against COVID-19.

Las Vegan Robin McDermott works on the casino floor at one of the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

Robin McDermott — casino worker

“I have been a dealer for thirty years,” McDermott said.

Her interactions with gambling guests are a big concern amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“You’re at the casinos dealing with people from everywhere, so you never know who you’re coming into contact with, and how things are going to happen to you and taking it back to your family,” McDermott said.

But hospitality workers in Clark County are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We should have been offered it sooner, but glad that we finally do get it,” McDermott said.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 is encouraging all its members to get vaccinated. A spokesperson for the union says more than 100 members and/or their immediate family members have died from COVID-19 since last March.

“We know the only way we’re going to protect our family and we’re going to protect ourselves is if most of the people get the vaccine,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226.

Workers at Clark County restaurants, such as Crazy Pita in Town Square, are also now able to get the shot. Even with safety measures like capacity limits and social distancing in place, owner Mehdi Zarhloul says the vaccine will bring more peace of mind to his employees.

“We see the light at the end of the tunnel, that soon, all this will be behind us and we’ll move on with our normal lives,” Zarhloul said.

A brighter future is what casino workers are hoping for too.

“Make ourselves a little bit safer and stopping this virus,” McDermott said.

Casino and restaurant workers tell 8 News Now they are also happy to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine now, because capacity limits are set to increase to 50 percent on March 15.

If you are eligible to get the vaccine, you can sign up for an appointment on the Southern Nevada Health District’s website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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