MGM, Caesars, Boyd partner with UMC on COVID-19 testing

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John Locher/AP

Doctors and health care workers with the UNLV School of Medicine suit up in personal protective equipment before taking patients at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Las Vegas.

Published Tue, May 19, 2020 (3:48 p.m.)

Updated Tue, May 19, 2020 (7:30 p.m.)

A coronavirus testing program will begin Thursday for employees of several of the biggest gaming operators in Las Vegas.

Employees of MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Boyd Gaming will receive free coronavirus testing starting Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, according to a joint news release issued today.

The testing program — ahead of a possible green light to open Nevada’s casinos in the coming weeks — is a collaboration between the three casino companies, the Culinary Union and University Medical Center, which will oversee the tests.

It’s expected that up to 4,000 samples will be taken daily, with subjects being notified of the results within 48 hours, according to the news release.

Any positive results will be forwarded to the Southern Nevada Health District for contact tracing, the release said.

“This testing partnership will allow us to provide our employees and guests peace of mind that we are taking the greatest possible precautions to keep them safe,” Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO of MGM Resorts, said in a statement.

Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, said the partnership “ensures that Culinary Union members are safe when they return to work.”

The union represents about 60,000 resort workers in Las Vegas and Reno.

Keith Smith, CEO of Boyd Gaming, said the partnership will help prevent spread of the virus and demonstrates the company’s commitment to “offering a safe and entertaining environment.”

Caesars CEO Tony Rodio said employees will complete a questionnaire to determine if they need to get tested for COVID-19.

Las Vegas resorts have announced plans to open in phases and at reduced capacity, per social distancing guidelines established by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

MGM has about 50,000 employees in Las Vegas, Caesars about 30,000 and Boyd about 10,000.

Casinos have been shuttered since mid-March, when Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered nonessential businesses closed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Sisolak allowed some businesses — dine-in restaurants, hair salons and retail stores — to open May 9 under strict social distancing guidelines. But he did not set a date for casinos to resume operations.

Las Vegas Sands announced today that it plans to open the Venetian on June 1, though it didn’t indicate if it had received word from the state about when the shutdown would be lifted.

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