Casinos in Nevada will be protected from lawsuits related to COVID-19 after Governor Steve Sissolak signed a bill enabling this.
The legislation applies to all gambling businesses and other Nevadan entertainment venues, such as hotels.
In order for the bill to apply to them, operators must be adhering to safety measures that have been introduced as a result of the pandemic.
Sissolak introduced this particular legislation to protect the state’s economy, with revenue already suffering due to a lockdown earlier this year.
“Nevada relies heavily on a single industry”
Senate Bill 4 is the particular legislation that will serve to protect compliant entertainment businesses from claims put forward if workers or guests are diagnosed with the virus.
But despite offering a layer of help for these companies, guest safety measures are also included. It’s legally required that all casinos and hotels create an effective strategy to protect staff and patrons from catching COVID-19 as much as possible.
A social distancing gap of six feet must be maintained where it’s practical to do so. Moreover, plexiglass must be installed where necessary and there should also be various hand sanitizing stations throughout all premises.
Sissolak had the following to say about the new protectional measures for casinos and other businesses in Nevada.
“This bill isn’t about economic expansion – it’s about our state’s economic survival. It’s about acknowledging that Nevada relies heavily on a single industry – the hospitality industry – and in order to make it through this historic storm, we must ensure it survives.
“But it’s not just about protecting the businesses – it’s also about protecting the workers that keep this industry and our economy running.”
If you don’t comply, then you don’t apply
The new government legislation will only apply to businesses who are compliant with Nevada’s COVID-19 safety measures. As part of this, surfaces touched by multiple people – including ATMs, tables, bars, and doors – must be kept clean at all times.
Should businesses be found to breach the requirements that have been set out, then they will have no protection from lawsuits related to either contamination or death caused by the coronavirus.
In relation to this, Sissolak said the below.
“Those inevitable bad actors that have ignored – and continue to ignore – our state’s directives and published health and safety protocols will not be protected from liability for those failures – those bad actors will continue to face legal consequences.
“This legislation does not create an impenetrable shield for those businesses who fail to protect their employees, customers, visitors, and, most importantly, hard-working Nevadans.”
AGA praises the bill, but there is criticism from the health sector
Bill Miller, President and Chief Executive of the American Gaming Association (AGA), shared his support for the new legislation.
Mentioning that it would support the state’s “sustained economic and community recovery”, he said the below.
“While we have worked diligently to safely reopen our doors and welcome our team members back to work, we remain concerned that already-suffering gaming businesses will be forced to defend against an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits.
“Capacity restrictions and significant safety expenditures are already taking their toll. This bill helps to mitigate the costs of burdensome litigation that will ultimately affect state and local taxes and jobs.”
But while the AGA welcomed the bill, there was criticism from the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA). While it acknowledges the need to protect businesses, the association believes that healthcare facilities and hospitals should also have been covered.
Schools have also not been included in the legislation.
President Bill Welch’s words were as follows.
“Hospitals and health care workers have been on the front lines of COVID-19 since March and not extending premises liability protections to them creates situations that need to be addressed to ensure the safety of patients, employees and hospitals themselves.
“We support protection for all of Nevada’s businesses so that we can revitalize our economy. We will be reaching out to Governor Sisolak’s office to request an amendment to Declaration 11 that specifically outlines protections to health care facilities during the COVID-19 emergency.”