Posted on: March 31, 2021, 12:46h.
Last updated on: March 31, 2021, 01:56h.
MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, the two largest employers on the Las Vegas Strip, are offering their workers COVID-19 vaccines.
Nevada expanded the eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine earlier this month to include all workers in the state’s gaming industry. The Nevada Gaming Control Board says employees of “restricted and nonrestricted gaming licenses” can become vaccinated. That means along with casino workers, employees in many food service and hospitality businesses can receive their shots.
Nevada hotels and casinos are estimated to employ between 140,000 to 180,000 people.
MGM Resorts, the state’s largest employer, is operating a COVID-19 inoculation clinic at its Mandalay Bay convention center. Caesars says it will open its own vaccine facility at its Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino beginning tomorrow, April 1.
Because of limited supply and large demand in the early months of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, even those who were in the first phase experienced difficulty scheduling appointments. Though the state continues to receive more doses, the large increase in who is eligible is overloading vaccine sites.
It’ll only get worse. Beginning April 5, anyone aged 16 and older in Nevada can receive the vaccine. The state is additionally encouraging immigrants and refugees to become vaccinated, with assurances that their immigration status will not be shared with federal agencies.
MGM and Caesars providing their workers with an easy path to receive the vaccine streamlines the process for their tens of thousands of employees. Prior to the pandemic, MGM employed approximately 50,000 people in Southern Nevada at its nine major resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.
We’re committed to doing all that we can to help get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible by removing barriers to access and bringing vaccination clinics directly to our employees,” MGM spokesman Brian Ahern said in a statement.
Along with MGM and Caesars, Wynn Resorts and Station Casinos are also offering their workers on-site vaccines. A quick search for vaccine appointments on the Immunize Nevada website found extremely limited availability at pharmacies around town.
Nevada is lagging compared with other states in vaccinating its population.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 percent of all Nevadans have received at least one dose. That ranks tied for 35th in the nation. Sixteen percent of Nevadans are fully vaccinated, which is tied for 34th.
With two of the state’s largest employers offering free vaccines to their workers while on the job, Nevada’s vaccination rate should improve.
“Our economy is based on gaming and entertainment and restaurants and all the things that are associated with that,” said Greg Cassell, incident commander for the Southern Nevada Health District’s vaccination rollout. “Having a healthy workforce is key to them being able to provide those services and get us back up to speed as a community with our primary industry.”