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MGM Grand Detroit employees express concern over COVID-19 response

MGM Grand Detroit employees express concern over COVID-19 response
Posted at 11:17 PM, Mar 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 23:17:31-04

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) — The unprecedented spread of COVID-19 has taken several local industries by surprise - including Detroit's casinos.

Like other local casinos, MGM Grand Detroit remains open as of Saturday night, though has had to make some changes to comply with state executive orders related to large gatherings.

Two MGM Grand employees reached out to Action News, expressing concern with the how the casino is responding to the growing virus. As of Saturday, there are 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan.

One MGM Grand Detroit staff member said his supervisor didn't take him seriously after he reported a cough and shortness of breath at the beginning of his shift.

“All I wanted to do was go home and make sure that I wasn’t putting anybody else at risk by being on that casino floor, touching other guests, touching machines, touching chairs," said slot attendant Stephen Randazzo, who said he was told to go back to work early Saturday when he showed up for his midnight shift.

“It was my full understanding that I was expected to return to the casino floor to co-mingle with the general public," he said.

In a statement, Director of Corporate Media Relations for MGM Brian Ahern said:

“After the employee presented himself as ill, MGM Detroit contacted emergency medical officials who responded and evaluated the employee, who was taken to a non-public, back-of-house area. Despite determining the employee did not exhibit symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, the medical officials offered to take the employee to the hospital for further evaluation – which he refused. The employee then went home.

“After the employee presented himself as ill, MGM Detroit contacted emergency medical officials who responded and evaluated the employee, who was taken to a non-public, back-of-house area. Despite determining the employee did not exhibit symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, the medical officials offered to take the employee to the hospital for further evaluation – which he refused. The employee then went home."

Randazzo said he declined a visit to the ER because he didn't want to potentially expose others. He said generally speaking, he felt his report just wasn't taken seriously by his higher-ups.

“It seemed liked they considered me not having a fever to be the ultimate deciding factor," he told Action News.

Another MGM Grand employee who asked we not use her name, spoke with us over the phone.

She works as a dealer at the casino -- Action News verified her employment.

“They were using chairs as partitions. I don’t know if they were going to put something permanent," she said of the casino's method to limit gatherings of 250 people or more.

“Just being there is a hazard because we’re so close. Even if there aren’t 250 guests right around us, they’re still right next to us," she said.

"MGM Grand Detroit is complying with the Governor’s ban on gatherings of more than 250 people by cornering off areas to limit gatherings to less than 250 and will soon be erecting walls to further demark these barriers. To promote social distancing, we are turning off at least every other slot machine and will only have 245 or fewer slot machines and chairs in each section. We are also reducing seating to increase space between people in the table games areas. In addition, we are limiting entry into each of our F&B outlets to ensure there is a maximum occupancy of 250 individuals. Our security staff are stationed throughout the property and are actively and diligently monitoring all areas to ensure there are no more than 250 people in a section or outlet at any given time," said Ahern in a statement.