weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Westgate mandates proof of COVID vaccination by Oct. 15

Updated September 11, 2021 - 10:19 am

David Siegel has told his Westgate team members in clear terms that if he weren’t vaccinated for COVID, someone else would be running the company.

Siegel, who has been vaccinated, contracted COVID-19 in July. On Friday, he told his employees they would need to show proof of vaccination to continue working for Westgate. About 2,400 employees in Las Vegas and 10,000 company-wide are required to follow the new directive if they expect to remain with the company.

Exemptions can be made for those who provide proof of a valid medical exemption or other potential exemption as outlined in Westgate’s COVID-19 vaccination policy

The policy covers all employees in Westgate’s food-and-beverage partnerships, and the hotel’s resident performers and their casts and crews at International Theater and Westgate Cabaret.

Siegel shared a letter with team members, detailing his experiences in battling COVID.

“I contracted pneumonia and my immune system was suppressed, which made it very dangerous for me to catch this terrible virus. I got sick and was admitted to the hospital to monitor my oxygen levels,” Siegel wrote. “The doctors who treated me told me that had I not been vaccinated, I likely would not be here today to share this story with you. The antibodies in my blood from being vaccinated helped me fight the virus and to put it simply, the COVID-19 vaccine saved my life.”

Siegel went on to say that, over the past few months, the company has lost several team members. All of those who perished were unvaccinated. “I mourn their loss each day and wish I could bring them back to their families. The loss of one of our Westgate Team Members to this virus is one too many,” Siegel said.

Such loss of life prompted him to mandate proof-of-vaccination in mid-October.

Westgate President and General Manager Cami Christensen said Saturday, “I am so proud of David’s leadership and his on going commitment to keeping our Team Members and guests safe.” She added, “David has always been a industry leader with his commitment to team member health, most recently in COVID safety, and lastly his overall focus on the opioid epidemic and saving lives nationally in America.”

The loss of life, and the capacity to help save lives, prompted Siegel to mandate proof-of-vaccination effective mid-October.

“Westgate is not the first major company to make this decision, and we will not be the last,” Siegel said. “Vaccines are the single greatest tool we have for ending this pandemic, keeping ourselves and our families safe and returning life back to normal.”

The 86-year-old resort magnate ended with, “This is the first step and I ask you to join me. Frankly, had I not been vaccinated, it would not be me asking you to get the vaccine today.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.