Atlantic City casino workers are calling on Governor Phil Murphy to enforce mandatory temperature checks in all casinos following failures to do so. Casinos began opening their doors in early July and with all 9 AC casinos open, workers now want additional protection. Despite the casinos only being partially open, at least 4 casinos have been found not to be checking the temperature of guests.
Members of the Local 54 Unite-Here Union which protects many Atlantic City casino workers sent a press release last week saying that 4 of Caesars casinos were failing to offer protection. Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s, and the Tropicana are the 4 casinos who they union claim not to be following the new guidelines since reopening.
Caesars released the following statement, as reported by the Las Vegas Sun:
“Caesars Entertainment’s Atlantic City health and safety plan fully complies with all governmental directives. In addition to our enhanced cleaning protocols and other requirements that apply to our valued team members, all of our guests must pass a screening process before being allowed into our properties and must wear face masks in compliance with the governor’s orders.”
This is a union which is very efficient at helping their staff, as we talked about here when they rallied for financial support during lockdown. The casinos were wrong to start laying staff off, as reported here, and the unions were instrumental in stopping that. Casino workers will hope that they can have a similar influence with regard to temperature checks.
As yet there has been no word from the Governor’s office on what could be done for Atlantic City casino workers to provide them with better protection. It appears that the issue here is that the casinos have so many entry points, and that is what is making routine testing more challenging. It may very well be that the casino will have to bottle neck customers in order to carry out sufficient temperature checks.
Whilst it is not a guaranteed way of checking whether or not someone has the virus, we know that a fever is a likely symptom. Over 90% of people who display symptoms present a fever.
Union official Donna Decaprio said that some Atlantic City casino workers have contracted the virus. She went on to say however that in all cases symptoms were displayed just after the reopening which indicated that they had contracted it prior to this.
Atlantic City wish to be like Vegas in many ways and perhaps AC can follow in the footsteps of what Nevada has done here. A bill passed this week requires temperature scans for all casino workers and customers. Atlantic City casino workers will be continuing to put pressure on Gov. Murphy, to make sure that they are afforded the same protection.
Disappointing start for AC casinos
Some casinos in Atlantic City have been doing an excellent job at reopening and keeping workers and staff safe. Sadly however there are some which are not doing enough and this is barman Jason Knight’s take on how the Harrah is dealing with things:
“We’re not doing a good job even being partially open, the rooms aren’t being cleaned on a daily basis the way they are supposed to. This is a lot of people in an enclosed place, and we’re not rising to the challenge.”
This is supported by the union who stated that they have found over 180 cases where casinos have failed to screen guests coming in. The union also found 75 cases where hotel rooms were not properly cleaned. This is worrying information which could certainly put Atlantic City casino workers and guests at risk.
Casinos are under pressure to provide better healthcare for workers, as we covered last month. Given this lack of benefits some casino workers have been offered, it is expected that at the very least they do their best for their staff with regards to their safety.
Atlantic City Boost
This information comes at a worrying time for Atlantic City which has desperately needed to reopen for some time. The news to reopen those casinos was welcomed with open arms, yet the poor handling of guests and workers could set things back again. The local economy needs customers in hotel rooms and on the tables, which could be at risk if there is another spike in cases.
Governor Murphy has already delayed the reopening of indoor activities back in June after some ‘knucklehead behavior’ of some members of the public. It is clear that the governor is happy to make tough decisions in order to look after residents. Atlantic City casino workers will expect then that the governor is happy to help support them too with this move to make temperature checks mandatory. We will update when there is a response from the Governor’s team.