STATEMENT by Geoconda Argüello-Kline regarding updated NV Gaming Control Board policy regarding face coverings and mandatory/regular testing to save lives



Thursday, June 18th, 2020


Bethany Khan: ▪ (702) 387-7088

STATEMENT by Geoconda Argüello-Kline regarding updated NV Gaming Control Board policy regarding face coverings and mandatory/regular testing to save lives:

The Culinary Union proposed in early May to the NV Gaming Control Board that customers should also be required to wear masks so that front-line hospitality workers would be better protected when casinos reopened.

We applaud the NV Gaming Control Board’s updated guidance that customers must wear face coverings at table and card games if there is no barrier, partition, or shield between the dealer and each player. This is great news for dealers who will be better protected now, but it’s not enough. 

What about the rest of the tens of thousands of hospitality workers? The Culinary Union demands that casinos and hotels implement the same face covering mandate for visitors interacting with bartenders, cocktail servers, food servers, bell persons, porters, guest room attendants, cashiers, and other customer-facing positions. 

Public health experts stress the need for universal face covering in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Culinary Union agrees with Southern Nevada Acting Chief Health Officer Dr. Fermin Leguen that “employees of local businesses are putting themselves at risk to provide services to the public who are not wearing masks.” Reopening without a requirement that all patrons wear masks puts hospitality and gaming workers, their families and communities, and the general public at risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Culinary Union also demands the NV Gaming Control Board adopt the recommendations by the Southern Nevada Health District with respect to requiring face coverings by all persons in public, as well as mandatory and regular testing of all frontline employees in casino hotels.

The Culinary Union is demanding safety for all hospitality and gaming workers in Nevada and is tracking what casino employers are doing to prevent COVID-19 in the following areas on

  1. Requiring daily cleaning of guest rooms
  2. Mandatory testing of all employees for COVID-19 before returning to work and regular testing thereafter 
  3. Providing adequate COVID-19 PPE for employees
  4. Enforcing social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures
  5. Requiring guests to wear face masks in all public areas
  6. Posting a COVID-19 safety plan on public-facing website  

“Culinary Union’s Public Health Guidelines for Gaming Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic”



Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 300,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America. 

The Culinary Union, through the Culinary Health Fund, is one of the largest healthcare consumers in the state. The Culinary Health Fund is sponsored by the Culinary Union and Las Vegas-area employers. It provides health insurance coverage for over 145,000 Nevadans, the Culinary Union’s members and their dependents.  

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. We are proud to have helped over 18,000 immigrants become American citizens and new voters since 2001 through our affiliate, The Citizenship Project. 

The Culinary Union has a diverse membership -- approximately 55% women, 54% Latinx, 19% White, 15% Asian, 10% Black, and less than 1% Indigenous Peoples — and consists of guest room attendants, cocktail and food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks, bartenders, laundry and kitchen workers. The Culinary Union has been fighting for fair wages, job security, and good health benefits for workers in Nevada for 85 years. / @Culinary226 


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