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Hotel, casino workers seek enhanced COVID safety protections

MGM Las Vegas

Hotel workers in California have filed a lawsuit seeking greater protections from COVID-19, while Nevada casino workers announced Monday that they have been granted expedited arbitration on their complaints about worker safety.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, California Hotel & Lodging Association and Hotel Council of San Francisco filed a complaint in San Francisco Superior Court seeking to overturn the city’s “Healthy Buildings” ordinance, which workers argue “endangers hotel employees and guests” and forces many hotels to remain closed.

The ordinance, approved July 7, requires enhanced cleaning of hotels and additional training of workers. It also requires that all surfaces of occupied guest rooms be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis unless the guest requests otherwise, which the associations argue places hotel workers at an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure.

The lawsuit also alleges that complying with the ordinance will cost the city’s hotels $220,000 a year on average, on top of the estimated nearly $500,000 losses that hotels will incur following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleaning and social distancing guidelines.

The Culinary Union of Las Vegas is also fighting for increased workplace protections to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the union and MGM Resorts International have agreed to expedited arbitration, which is expected to begin this week, the union said in a statement.

The union filed suit against several casinos, saying more than 350 union members, their spouses or dependents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. The lawsuits seek enhanced cleaning, enforced social distancing, mandatory testing of all employees, adequate personal protective equipment and mandatory face masks for all guests.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here