Las Vegas prepares to reopen, as Nevada debates bill giving workers ‘right to return’

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LAS VEGAS (NewsNation Now) — Las Vegas is slated to fully reopen June 1, but things have already started to return to a pre-pandemic normal.

Democratic Representative Dina Titus says that her district has seen both extremes.

“If we’re coming back, I think it’s kind of a sign of hope. And it’s like the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Titus.

Jason Strauss is CEO of Tao Group, which has restaurants and nightclubs across the Las Vegas strip, and says Las Vegas businesses are the “leaders” in reopening thanks to the city’s reputation for hospitality and entertainment.

“It’s been an explosion, the pent up demand has been dramatic and I’ve seen this town come back together, has been amazing to watch,” said Strauss.

If Vegas is the symbol of rebounding after the pandemic, it is also home to many of the associated problems like getting people back to work.

“We had the highest unemployment of anywhere because so many people are dependent on the tourism industry and hospitality,” said Titus.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 union says around 50% of its workers are still off the job.

“When they closed the casinos in the first two months you know, we had like 97% of everybody in home, not working,” said union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda ArgĂŒello-Kline.

Now a contentious Senate bill in Nevada guaranteeing the right of workers to return to the same job at the same wage is under consideration at a time when hotels and casinos have been slow to rehire.

“The Senate bill has a chance to pass, it says if you were fired, you have the first right of refusal,” said Titus.

Republican state senator Keith Pickard opposes the bill for the burden it places on businesses.

“They’re trying to force on them this seniority ranking rather than merit,” Pickard said.

Whatever is decided, Strauss says that he will know things are back when familiar scenes return.

“I think we’ll know we’re back when I see a full dance floor, hands in the air, one of our headlining DJs that we’re we’re all known for,” said Strauss.

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