Major resorts in Las Vegas began adopting the mandate in an effort to boost vaccination rates. MGM said all salaried employees not working exclusively at home will need to be vaccinated, and that the company will take a look at its effect after Friday’s deadline.
Meanwhile, Westgate has said its mandate is working in a new statement, in which it claims 98% of team members required to get the shots under the mandate have done so. Exemptions are being processed on a case-by-case basis.
“It might pressure some of the employees to get vaccinated,” financial analyst Steve Budin told KTNV. “Only time will tell how effective or disruptive these policies can be.”
If the mandates prove to be effective, other properties may follow the measure. However, as there’s such a high demand for workers at the moment, the worker might simply opt not to get vaccinated and may move on to another property, warns Budin.
So far, a few operators have begun enforcing vaccine mandates to their employees, while more are expected to follow soon. Both Resorts World Las Vegas and Westgate did so last month, while MGM Resorts International announced its own mandate in August.
Westgate CEO David Seigel revealed in a memo to staff that he survived a difficult battle against COVID-19 in July, in which he believes having been vaccinated made the difference.
“The doctors who treated me told me that had I not been vaccinated, I likely would not be here today to share this story with you,” said Siegel in the statement. He also reminded the workforce that the virus has already taken several Westgate workers’ lives, and that “the only real solution to encourage vaccinations is to require it.”
Siegel also said Westgate is not the first major company to make the decision, and that it would “not be the last”. “Vaccines are the single greatest tool we have for ending this pandemic, keeping ourselves and our families safe and returning life back to normal,” he stated.
Meanwhile, MGM Resorts said that, given its status as one of the largest operators in the industry, the company is determined to do its part “to curb the spread of the virus” and help counter alarming trends in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. “Vaccination is the most effective tool in doing so,” CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle said in August
August figures showed about 62% of Las Vegas residents have received at least one shot, slightly below the 66% average. Measures such as vaccination mandates aim at improving the rate.
As far as mandates for current union and hourly workers at casino properties, the Culinary Union says there would need to be negotiations through collective bargaining should that be proposed.