In a letter sent out to employees of the casino and hospitality company MGM Resorts on November 16, the company’s chief executive officer, Bill Hornbuckle, informed unvaccinated hourly employees that the price of COVID-19 tests will more than double up.
MGM Resorts Increases Price of On-Site COVID-19 Tests
This decision came in response to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration which recently ruled that all private companies with more than 100 workers should have them vaccinated or take a weekly test.
MGM Resorts, being one of the biggest employers in Nevada, had to comply. Currently, the company has mandatory vaccines for regular employees. Hourly employees, on the other hand, have the freedom to not get vaccinated if they test themselves weekly. This applies only to on-site workers, with those working from home being exempt from the rule.
The new price of COVID-19 tests will be $38 – a $23 increase from what it used to be previously. However, Hornbuckle insists that the new price is actually still less than half of what an actual COVID tests cost.
Alternatively, instead of getting tested on-site, hourly employees can get tested somewhere else, either with a lab-based antigen test or with a PCR test. Self-testing kits will not be accepted as valid because of their low reliability.
Refusal to get either a vaccine or a test will put an employee on unpaid leave and can eventually get them fired.
The Company is Working to Adhere to the Health Regulations
According to Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts is moving quickly with the vaccinations. In August, it introduced a company-wide vaccine mandate for its salaried workers with a deadline of October 15. Currently, only 2% of the regular workers and 16% of the hourly workers remain unvaccinated. The 2% of the salaried employees who refused to comply are currently either fired or on unpaid leave.
For the unvaccinated hourly workers, the on-site tests are organized in an orderly manner compiling an alphabetical list of the hourly employees’ last names and assigning them into testing groups, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports. Should a test turn up positive, the respective worker and the peers they’ve been in contact with are asked to go into isolation. This isolation is not considered paid time for unvaccinated workers.
The vaccine mandate of President Biden’s administration and the OSHA envisioned having the entire American workforce vaccinated by January 4, 2022. However, this ruling was recently challenged by several lawsuits, which eventually led the order to be delayed until its legality has been examined.
The OSHA has been working hard to crack down on workplaces that employ dangerous COVID-19 practices. Two weeks ago, the administration fined the Aria Las Vegas hotel casino over violations of the anti-pandemic measures.