The Strat Hotel to require vaccination or weekly negative COVID-19 tests CDC Gaming Reports · September 1, 2021 at 8:25 am According to Fox 5 Las Vegas, The Strat Hotel has become the first Golden Entertainment property where employees must be vaccinated or submit weekly negative COVID-19 tests. The policy will go into effect September 15. “Like many other properties on the Las Vegas Strip, Golden Entertainment will require documentation of COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing at The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod for all team members. This policy goes into effect on Wednesday, September 15,” a company spokesperson said. They added that the decision is to “maintain the health of our team members, our guests, and our community. The company did not provide further details on if or when the policy will be put into effect at other Golden Entertainment properties. ORIGINAL ARTICLE “Golden’s employees must be vaccinated or show negative COVID test” dated August 21: by Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports Golden Entertainment, which operates nine casinos in Nevada including the STRAT on the Strip, a casino in Maryland, and 66 pubs and taverns across Las Vegas, has informed employees they will have to show proof of vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis at some of its properties. Golden joins the ranks of companies requiring more out of their employees to deal with the pandemic that has worsened in Nevada and across the U.S. On Friday, Nevada passed the 50% mark for vaccinations for those 12 and older. Last Monday, MGM Resorts International became the first U.S. casino operator to require its salaried employees to be vaccinated. It will apply to new hires as well; new hires must be vaccinated by August 31, while salaried employees, if they don’t work from home, must do so by October 15. The policy doesn’t affect hourly employees, but MGM said it was considering expanding the requirement. In a letter dated Tuesday and signed by Golden Entertainment President and Chief Financial Officer Charles Protell, he reminded employees that they were encouraged on July 15 to get vaccinated to protect the community and their families. Protell said in the letter that while many properties and corporate functions “have made progress toward that end, some unfortunately have not.” He said that in the coming weeks, they’re preparing to require unvaccinated staff “at certain properties and corporate offices to present either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis.” He added that employees affected by the requirement will be receiving more information. Golden is hosting several vaccination clinics at both The STRAT and Sierra Gold Jones in the upcoming weeks. The vaccinations are free and clinics are open to anyone in the family. “Vaccination is the most effective method to slow the spread of COVID-19. Hopefully, we can all continue to do our part to maintain the health of our business and communities,” Protell said in the letter. Casino consultant Josh Swissman, founder of the Strategy Organization, said he expects more casino operators to follow in the footsteps of MGM and Golden. “Beyond the gaming industry, this seems to be the trend,” Swissman said. “It’s what these operators feel they need to do, not only to protect their employees, but also to protect the customers and give them a sense of security. The fact that these new requirements are being put in place does become newsworthy. Customers see it and I’m sure that affects some folks’ travel patterns to go to places where they feel more safe.” While employees are being targeted, no casinos are requiring customers to be vaccinated. On Monday, a city of New Orleans’ mandate went into effect requiring customers of restaurants, casinos, stadiums and other establishments be vaccinated or show a negative COVID test. The Raiders this week required its fans to be vaccinated in order to enter Allegiant Stadium by the opening game in September and concert promoters will enforce a similar requirement for casino entertainment venues. Some trade shows scheduled for Las Vegas, such as the Consumer Electronics Show in January and the National Broadcasters convention in April, are doing the same. For Golden Entertainment, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder are its other two Las Vegas properties. In addition, the Aquarius and Edgewater are in Laughlin and the Nugget, Gold Town, and Lakeside are in Pahrump, Nevada. The Rocky Gap Casino is in Maryland. Earlier this month, Golden reported record revenue of $292 million during the second quarter and record adjusted earnings of $91 million. Those adjusted earnings were 50% higher than the previous record in the first quarter. All casino properties and distributed gaming operations hit the highest quarterly adjusted earnings in its history, executives said.