Nurse Kathleen Hafetz vaccinates Borgata server Mario Guzman.

ATLANTIC CITY – The Casino Association of New Jersey, 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 after Gov. 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.

Bally’s servier Patti Cianci celebrates after receiving a vaccine.

“Getting our local hospitality workers vaccinated is an important part of protecting ourcommunity and creating a safe, healthy environment for those who look forward to visiting our region every year,” said Lori Herndon, president and CEO of 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,” Guzman said. “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,” Cianci said. “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.”

“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. “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.



Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.