In the United States, most individual states have been under stay at home orders. Non-essential businesses have been shut down and people are staying home. Among the businesses closed are casino and other gaming venues. Over the past few weeks, efforts have been made across the country to meet federal guidelines in order to reopen, at least to some extent. Casino operators in Las Vegas have already begun announcing safety measures they will put in place to get back to work. However, employees are not so eager.
For many casino operators on the Strip, they have outlined plans to introduce new safety procedures as they reopen. This will include using masks, taking temperatures of patrons and employees as well as arranging the gaming floor for better social distancing. And while all of this is a good idea, employees still do not feel safe and ready to get back to work.
Experts believe that the safety measures will be reassuring to guests, but what about employees? Will those who have been furloughed feel ready to get back to work? For some, the measures make them feel safe and they are not worried about getting the virus. They take precautions and wash their hands and wear a mask.
However, for others, the threat is more real. Take for example those who fit into the more vulnerable category, such as being over 65 or having immune issues. People who fall into this category feel they are putting themselves at risk to being exposed when dealing with customers.
According to assistant professor in residence at UNLV College of Hospitality, Bobbie Barnes, it will take transparent communication between employees and their employer to put everyone at ease. Barnes puts Wynn Resorts new guidelines at the forefront, pointing out how they break down sanitization plans by department. That level of information can provide comfort to employees who may be worried about their safety.
If the employee is not comfortable and they return back to work, then they can create a negative environment for other employees as well as guests. Employees need to know their value and be accepting of those who do not feel safe when it comes to returning to work.
Because the reopening process will take place in stages, Barnes feels that employers should have more leeway and be able to bring back those who are ready first and allow those who feel they need more time to stay at home.
Putting Family at Risk
There are other employees who are not so much worried about themselves as they are their family members. If someone comes in contact with the virus and end up being asymptomatic, they can bring the virus home and be unaware that they did. Someone in their family who is vulnerable could get sick and spread it to others.
Right now, people who are still working, be it in the health care field or at major retailers, are stripping off their clothing as soon as they get home and taking a shower to try and get rid of any potential contamination. It may be that this becomes the norm for employees on the Strip once operations get back to normal.
For now, there is no set date for casinos to reopen in Las Vegas or in other areas of the United States. It will most likely be some time still before venues begin reopening and most likely it will occur at a much lower capacity than normal.