Atlantic City – The Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ), AtlantiCare and UNITE HERE Local 54 announced that Atlantic City casino workers began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations today at the Atlantic County COVID-19 Vaccination Megasite. Governor Murphy opened up eligibility to hospitality workers across the state as of March 29. The three organizations are working together to prioritize vaccinating approximately 25,000 casino employees by Memorial Day.
“Getting our local hospitality workers vaccinated is an important part of protecting our community and creating a safe, healthy environment for those who look forward to visiting our region every year,” said Lori Herndon, President and CEO, AtlantiCare. “AtlantiCare is proud to assist in this effort to make a difference for those who work, visit or live in Atlantic City.”
UNITE HERE Local 54, the largest casino workers union in the state, is working closely with regional healthcare provider AtlantiCare and the State of New Jersey, to receive additional supply of vaccines daily for casino workers. This additional vaccine supply would be administered exclusively to the Atlantic City casino workforce who wish to be vaccinated with a goal that all receive the vaccine by Memorial Day.
Mario Guzman, a food server at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, was the first casino worker vaccinated today through the partnership. He has worked in the casino industry for more than 20 years. He has three young children.
“I’ve been laid off since March 2020 when the pandemic hit,” said Guzman. “Thankfully, I will be going back to work at Borgata in June. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to get the vaccine, thanks to my union, AtlantiCare, the casino industry and the Governor of New Jersey. I’m so happy that I can keep the customers safe and go back to work.”
Patti Cianci, of Somers Point, was the second casino worker to receive the vaccine today. She has worked as a cocktail server at Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino for 41 years. Cianci was laid off in March 2020 due to the pandemic and returned to work on Labor Day.
“The last year has been very challenging for my family,” said Cianci. “I haven’t seen my close family members in almost a year. I am so grateful that I am able to get the COVID vaccine today. I am looking forward to getting back to normal and keeping my coworkers and guests safe. Thank you to Local 54, AtlantiCare, the casino industry and Governor Murphy for making this possible!”
“This is a great day for hospitality and gaming workers,” said Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54. “This is the most substantial community/industry/labor partnership that’s been built in the 25 years that I have been serving as President of Local 54. Atlantic City will be the safest gaming venue in the United States.”
“It’s hard to believe that this time last year, Atlantic City casinos were closed due to the pandemic,” said Steve Callender, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ). “We have worked very hard to safely bring back thousands of our valued employees and guests over the last year. Today marks a major step forward in recovering from this crisis, and we look forward to bringing back even more employees and guests to our properties. I would like to thank our partners, AtlantiCare and UNITE HERE, for their tireless commitment to providing all our casino employees the opportunity to be vaccinated before Memorial Day. Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer and is an important season for our industry.”
Comprehensive step-by-step instructions on how to register and schedule a vaccine appointment have been communicated by the Atlantic City casinos to all of their employees. Casino employees will receive a unique, personal password for their respective properties for online registration to help simplify the registration process. Employees will also be required to show casino or Local 54 identification to gain admittance to the vaccination site.
Vaccinations are being administered at the Atlantic County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center. AtlantiCare, in partnership with the New Jersey State Department of Health, State Police, and National Guard manages the megasite located at the Atlantic City Convention Center. AtlantiCare is now administering more than 4,000 vaccines per day and has already administered more than 140,000 doses since the site launched on January 22, 2021.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, guests and fellow residents,” added Callender. “The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect our employees against this deadly virus, and we are grateful that our workforce will be vaccinated.”
In April 2020, CANJ partnered with AtlantiCare, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and UNITE HERE to develop a comprehensive and prudent reopening plan to ensure all guests and employees are welcomed back to a clean and safe environment. Atlantic City casinos will continue prioritizing the health and safety of guests and employees, as well as enforcing mask and social distancing requirements.