Rebound Indiana: Employees concerned over reopening casinos

Posted at 9:37 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 21:37:22-04

SHELBYVILLE — As businesses begin to reopen workers in one of the largest money-making industries for the state are worried about how they'll be able to safely reopen.

"When you think of a casino you think of gambling. When you gamble you have to touch things," Kayla Henson, who works at a casino, said. "You have to touch money. You have to touch every slot machine. People go to a slot machine for five minutes and then get up and move to another one."

Henson is worried if they'll be safe when the casinos open back up.

"Touching all of that is really scary knowing with what's out there now," Henson said.

With more than a dozen casinos in the state, 3,000 employees were furloughed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers held a virtual rally on Facebook on Friday.

Workers from the various casinos expressing their concerns and the need to enhance and prioritize cleaning before reopening. The session also included Indiana State Sen. Eddie Melton.

"When the casinos reopen those of you who are working are going to be on the front lines of this pandemic," Melton said. "I want you to know that I have your back. We're not going to let anyone gamble with your health."

Right now the Indiana Gaming Commission does not allow face coverings. A union representative told RTV6 some were told they had to remove theirs when they opted to wear one prior to the stay-at-home order.

"I'm hoping that our company steps up and demands that we wear gloves as front line workers, masks, whatever it will take to make sure that we stay healthy and are able to work," Henson said.

It is still undetermined when casinos will be allowed to reopen in Indiana. Casino workers are also concerned if they do get sick they'll struggle to get access to healthcare. The union is in negotiations now with employers to push for better benefits.