Caesars Offers Free Vaccines to Thousands of Its Employees
Caesars Entertainment is converting Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino into a vaccination site for thousands of its employees in April. The hotel and gaming giant announced a partnership with Albertsons to administer between 1,000 and 2,000 Pfizer shots during large-scale vaccine events. Free vaccinations will be scheduled online by appointment only and are open to all Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas team members.
In total, 10,000 vaccinations will be distributed exclusively to Caesars employees through the initiative.
The move is the latest in a long line on initiatives undertaken throughout the hospitality industry to combat the pandemic. From operating as testing stations to assisting medical care facilities, hotels have played a pivotal role in the recovery even as the industry struggles to regain its foothold.
Amid fears of a fourth wave of COVID-19, companies across industries are stepping up efforts to encourage vaccinations. Not only do the shots help protect workers, they contribute to a herd immunity that could finally put the health crisis behind us. All hospitality industry members are currently eligible for shots in Las Vegas, and President Biden pledges vaccines will be available to all American adults who want one by May 1.
“We are grateful to partner with Albertsons to host on-site COVID-19 vaccination events, providing convenient access for our Las Vegas Team Members to receive their doses,” said Sean McBurney, regional president of Las Vegas operations for Caesars Entertainment. “We are strongly encouraging our team members to get vaccinated, which is why we are offering them an internal rewards incentive to further support the critical rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine as we continue to work toward our industry’s recovery.”
Similarly, Marriott International announced its Vaccination Care Program in early March. The program provides a half-day’s pay to U.S. and Canadian associates at its managed properties who get vaccinated for COVID-19
“Marriott International is confident that vaccination is a key measure, along with mask wearing, social distancing and stepped-up cleanliness protocols and hygiene practices in minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” said David Rodriguez, global chief human resources officer at Marriott International As vaccines become more widely available, this will create a safer environment for all associates, and we believe that consumer confidence to travel again will increase significantly and help the rebound of the travel and tourism sector.”
Hilton Hotels said it is encouraging property management to allow the flexibility for workers to receive shots.
Vaccine distribution is considered the step toward the return to face-to-face events, which are expected to begin en masse in June or July. Nevertheless, industry advocates are not looking past the pandemic yet, urging continued government assistance to restore jobs to the battered hospitality world.
Chip Rogers, president & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, was among those who sent the National Governors Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors letters arguing for economic grants and recovery funds outlined by the American Rescue Plan.
A letter, co-authored by Rogers, Cecil P. Staton, president and CEO of Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Lynette Montoya, president and CEO of the Latino Hotel Association and Andy Ingraham, president, CEO and founder of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers, makes a strong case.
The letter reads: “The pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce, wiping out 10 years of hotel job growth. Twenty percent of leisure and hospitality jobs—3.5 million in total—have been lost during the pandemic and have yet to return, and the unemployment rate in the hospitality and tourism sector remains 300% higher than the rest of the economy. With hotels expected to end 2021 down 500,000 direct jobs, an additional 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also in jeopardy without additional support.”