Workers at the Cosmopolitan casino in Las Vegas have said it is ‘the Wuhan of the strip’ and that they’re ‘scared sh*tless’ as management flouts capacity rules and turns a blind eye to maskless gamblers who regularly verbally abuse staff.
Ten anonymous workers at the casino have broken their silence to describe how they are ‘terrified’ they will catch COVID-19 and hope the strip shutters once more, as players believe ‘COVID doesn’t exist once they arrive in Vegas’.
The staff told The Daily Beast gamblers are disregarding COVID-19 safety measures by refusing to social distance, walking around maskless and smoking inside the building.
They claim the casino’s public stance of a strict 50 percent capacity, testing and quarantining for any staff showing symptoms, and mask mandates for all staff and guests is nothing but a front for what is actually the most relaxed attitude of all the casinos on the strip, where staff who have tested positive for the killer virus have been welcomed back to work just three days later.
This comes as cases of the deadly virus have surged in Sin City since its famous casinos began welcoming gamblers back through their doors in June – with at least 70 employees at the Cosmopolitan reportedly being infected in the last two months alone.
Workers at the Cosmopolitan casino in Las Vegas have said it is ‘the Wuhan of the strip’ and that they’re ‘scared sh*tless’ as management flouts capacity rules and turns a blind eye to maskless gamblers who regularly verbally abuse staff. Pictured crowds of gamblers at the casino on July 18
One woman who has worked as a pit boss at the Cosmopolitan for more than a decade told the Beast gamblers are seen walking around the casino without masks on a nightly basis.
She said other gamblers smoke inside and handle cards – which the casino doesn’t clean between uses – with their bare hands.
‘I’m scared sh**less,’ she said. ‘I’ve heard players saying that they like Cosmo better since we opened, because we have the fewest rules.’
She said she is ‘sick to my stomach’ at the thought of spreading the virus to her family when she returns home from work.
‘I’m literally sick to my stomach every day I go into work. So much anxiety about everything, and it’s so much worse on the weekends, when we’re packed well beyond the 50 percent capacity to which we’re supposed to be adhering,’ she said.
‘I’m terrified. I’m terrified of getting it and bringing it home and seeing my family.’
When she has asked gamblers to put on masks in line with the casino’s COVID-19 safety rules, she said she has been subjected to vile abuse from players including being called a ‘stupid f**king bitch’ and a ‘little white c**t’.
Ten anonymous workers at the casino (pictured) have broken their silence to describe how they are ‘terrified’ they will catch COVID-19 and hope the strip shutters once more
Another staff member who said he has worked at the casino since ‘day one’ told how within hours of reopening he saw a gambler blowing cigar smoke directly into a dealer’s face.
‘And it just kept getting worse, with the players not properly wearing masks, zero social distancing, and more players on the game than is allowed,’ he told the Beast.
He blasted the casino for being ‘full of sh*t about protecting employees’ as players have faced no reprimand for their risky behavior, but said he feels he has no choice but to keep turning up for work.
‘Believe me, I wish I could walk out of here,’ he said. ‘If I didn’t have a family to take care of, I would’ve walked by now.’
Several other employees also said the blame lies with upper management who they accused of turning a blind eye to the guidelines and not doing enough to protect their workforce.
Staff said they had been expected to reuse disposable face masks for multiple shifts until they made numerous complaints to bosses.
The staff told The Daily Beast gamblers are disregarding COVID-19 safety measures by refusing to social distance, walking around maskless and smoking inside the building. Pictured the inside of the casino on July 2
They claim the casino’s public stance of a strict 50 percent capacity, testing and quarantining for any staff showing symptoms, and mask mandates for all staff and guests is nothing but a front for what is actually the most relaxed attitude of all casinos on the strip
Cases of the deadly virus have surged in Sin City since its famous casinos began welcoming gamblers back through their doors in June
Many workers claim some staff have been allowed to return to work just three days after testing positive – despite CDC guidelines stating infected people should isolate for 14 days.
A table games dealer, who worked at the casino for eight years, told the Beast he quit his job mid-July because he felt his employer was doing the ‘absolute minimum to protect the dealers’.
As well as a lack of masks, he said workers were expected to pack in to night shuttles together and tables lacked plexiglass to protect workers.
‘Frankly, my health is more important than somebody getting their fix,’ he said.
Another staffer said the casino, where he has been a dealer for 10 years, has gained a reputation ‘as the ‘Wuhan’ of the strip’ and that its lax rules are attracting a different type of clientele to the past.
‘We went from being a place of class and prestige to a place of wild, drunken, rowdy partygoers,’ he told the Beast.
‘In their minds, COVID doesn’t exist once they arrive in Vegas.’
Coronavirus cases in Nevada have surged since the state reopened casinos back in June, with infections rising from an average of around 100 to 200 per day to around 1,000 the following month.
Clark County, which covers Las Vegas, has recorded 56,796 cases – making up 86 percent of all 66,010 cases across the state.
A total of 1,028 people have been killed in the county, out of 1,200 statewide and its positivity rate of 11.7 percent towers over the other areas.
Fears are mounting for the safety of casino workers, with at least 70 Cosmopolitan staff having tested positive for COVID-19 since it reopened in June, according to the Beast.
Across the industry, 36 union members and their spouses or children have died in the last three months, Bethany Khan, the communications director for Las Vegas’ Culinary Union, told the Beast.
‘Since June 4, when casinos were allowed to reopen, the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations among Culinary and Bartenders Union members and/or their immediate family members has increased 1,380 percent, from five patients (hospitalized because of COVID-19 on June 4) to 69 (hospitalized COVID-19 patients on July 29),’ Khan said.
Adolfo Fernandez, a 51-year-old utility porter at the infamous Caesars Entertainment, died in June two days after testing positive for COVID-19 and before the casino introduced a mask mandate.
Meanwhile, Wynn Resorts reported that around 300 of its 17,000 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
The dismal figures across Nevada have led Governor Steve Sisolak to backtrack on the state’s reopening plans including shuttering bars along the strip and issuing a state-wide mask mandate.
Sisolak also implemented a law earlier this month to specifically protect hospitality workers and businesses amid the virus.
Senate Bill 4, named ‘Adolfo Fernandez Bill’ on behalf of the Caesar’s employee, is ‘first-in-the-nation legislation that will protect all workers in the hospitality industry in Las Vegas and Reno… from the Bellagio to Motel 6.’
But while this marks a sign of progress, the potential hotbeds of casinos remain open and local leaders have been tasked with implementing measures.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has done little to introduce safety precaution after previously blasting the state shutdown in March ‘total insanity’ and saying Sin City could be a ‘control group’ to test the damage an outbreak could wreak if it stayed open.
Goodman has since left casinos to their own devices, meaning workers and visitors have noted a stark difference in the different employers’ approaches to safety.
One Cosmopolitan employee said other casinos on the strip have taken the pandemic far more seriously, enforcing protocols to protect staff and players.
She pointed to the Wynn which has been ‘amazing at keeping employees safe’ by ‘really enforcing social distancing,’ only opening every other slot machine, enforcing players wear masks, giving temperature checks to guests on arrival and issuing random tests to staff each week.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Cosmopolitan for comment about the allegations.
A spokesperson told the Beast it has offered ‘free testing, temperature checks and paid time off for employees’ since June.
‘Our top priority is the safety of our employees and guests. Over the past several months, we have implemented an extensive set of health and safety policies and procedures, all of which meet or exceed the directives and guidance taken from local health and government authorities, including those called for within Senate Bill 4,’ the Cosmopolitan said.
‘As we have continued to operate, we have added even more protections for the health and wellbeing of our team, including extended benefits, an onsite team of certified medical professionals, real-time communication channels, a 24/7 accessible COVID-19 response team, dedicated Resort Ambassadors, enforcing our health and safety guidelines throughout the resort, the conversion of convention meeting space into expansive employee break and dining areas, and more.
‘We continue to solicit feedback from employees and adjust and strengthen our protocols and extensive safety and security measures in real-time,’ the casino added.