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As Nevada Casinos Reopen, Workers Concerned About Safety

Sign on casino door.
Ben Payne
Signs on the doors to Club Cal Neva in downtown Reno notify visitors of the casino's new health and safety measures. The Nevada Gaming Control Board does not require that casino visitors wear face coverings.

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Gamblers can once again try their luck in Nevada, as casinos across the state begin reopening Thursday under 50% maximum occupancy, but as KUNR's Benjamin Payne reports, workers are concerned about safety. 

Geoconda Argüello-Kline is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Union which represents about 60,000 tourism and hospitality workers in Nevada.

“People want to go back to work, but they want to go back to work safely,” Argüello-Kline said.

She says even as casinos begin to reopen, there's a lack of transparency about safety plans for workers. The state’s Gaming Control Board is requiring companies to submit safety plans for approval, but those are kept confidential. Companies can share them with the public, but only if they want to.

Argüello-Kline says these plans shouldn’t be kept secret, because they can mean life or death for workers on the front lines of Nevada’s tourism industry.

“It's not the CEO who's going to clean the places. It's not the shareholders who are going to clean the places. It's the people. It's the people who we have here in Nevada,” she said.

The Gaming Control Board says that state gaming law keeps these documents private and that the board does not have the authority to waive their confidentiality.

Benjamin Payne is a graduate student at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Benjamin Payne is a contributing reporter and floating host at KUNR. He is currently pursuing his master's degree at the University of Nevada, Reno's Reynolds School of Journalism, where he also works as a teaching assistant.
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