COVID-19 Crisis in Las Vegas and How The Service Industry and Casino Workers Are Being Impacted
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses to close effective at noon today, March 18. The impact on those who work in service industries as well as casino workers will not be understood for weeks or perhaps months. Currently, the governor has yet to lay out a definitive plan for these workers, although the federal government through the Department of Labor recently issued guidance to employers about extending emergency unemployment benefits as well as shortening the waiting time for receiving initial checks. Everyone who is eligible should apply for benefits online if possible, though the unemployment office will be accepting claims by telephone as well.
Were Closures Done Early Enough?
One question which we cannot answer at Gina Corena & Associates is whether these closures occurred fast enough to avoid employees being exposed to COVID-19. There may be service workers, including food service workers, hairdressers, nail technicians and casino workers who may have been exposed because of a customer they assisted prior to the mandatory closures. This and the fear our healthcare workers are facing daily as they deal with the sick and infected adds a great deal of uncertainty to this entire pandemic. If you believe you may have contracted COVID-19 on the job, you may have a work-related injury claim.
Employees who are symptomatic for the coronavirus should contact their primary care physician immediately and let them know they may have been exposed on the job. Assuming you meet the testing criteria for COVID-19, your doctor will likely order a test to verify whether you are in fact sick with coronavirus.
If you do not have an existing condition, chances are high your recovery will go smoothly. However, you may need to quarantine in your home away from other family members. Following a positive test, your family should be monitored carefully for any signs they may also be infected.
What Happens if You Did Contract COVID-19 at Work?
This is quite a predicament for both employees and employers. Normally, any illness you have contracted on the job is covered under Nevada’s Worker’s Compensation once you have filed a claim. However, proving you contracted coronavirus while on the job may prove complicated, particularly if you do not normally work in the healthcare sector. This does not minimize the fact that service workers, particularly those who work in crowded casinos, barbers and hair stylists, and even nail technicians could have contracted COVID-19 on the job.
Since we are uncertain about the life cycle of this virus, we do not currently have any firm data on how long it may live on surfaces. What we do know is the virus is easily transmittable by anyone who coughs or sneezes in close proximity to others.
Your first step, as previously mentioned, is to obtain immediate medical attention and get tested. Once a positive test result is received and you are either hospitalized or you are in self-isolation at home, speak with one of the attorneys at Gina Corena & Associates and explain the situation to them. This free consultation will help you understand the best steps to take for your specific situation.
Living in the New Normal
There are an estimated 60,000 workers who are employed in casinos alone in Nevada which makes this a scary time for everyone. Many of these workers are unaccustomed to isolation given the high-energy jobs they enjoy daily when they can go to work. All service workers may also face feelings of isolation which could lead to mental health issues. Currently, families may be worried about paying their mortgage, obtaining necessary goods while they are at home with children, or how they will recover financially from this devastation. There is some good news though because there was an announcement today regarding those who have an FHA-insured mortgage will be spared any foreclosure action for several months, even those who are currently facing foreclosure.
Temporarily, many of us may have to deal with numerous challenges including how to make sure our children remain healthy, protecting our parents and grandparents from contracting any type of illness, and dealing with temporary financial hardships. As of today’s printing (March 18) there is no indication of how long service workers will be out of work.
Other Injuries in Nevada in Upcoming Weeks
Ironically, with the number of people out of work, and potentially doing their shopping during the day, traffic may be heavier on Las Vegas roadways than it normally is during business hours. This could potentially mean more car accidents as people travel to pick up necessities, take their children for rides to alleviate boredom, or simply get out of the house. A quick view of the traffic reports as shown on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department showed that between 12:45 and 2:10 pm, there were seven traffic accidents, despite the lighter traffic.