Vegas strip resort pays employees $5000 bonus each for work during pandemic

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Employees at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas enjoyed an incredible surprise when their boss announced they would each receive a $5000 bonus. 

Around half of the resort's 5,400 employees attended an appreciation and awards buffet Wednesday, where resort President and CEO Bill McBeath praised the staff for helping the company maintain a "youthful, exuberant" brand during the coronavirus pandemic. 

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"It's you, every single day, that makes a difference," said Daniel Espino, Cosmopolitan chief people officer. "Whether you clean the rooms, cook the food, are dealing cards, serving drinks, at the front desk."

He then revealed the $5000 per employee bonus, as well as vacation trips to San Diego and Hawaii for employees Staci Stafford, a housekeeping trainer, and Samira Harbali, a server. The employees erupted with joy, high-fiving and hugging each other. 

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"It’s amazing!" said Edgar Rives, a cook for nine years in the employee cafeteria, calling it a "big surprise." 

Employees of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas celebrate at an event announcing cash bonuses for employees, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Las Vegas. Blackstone, the corporate owner of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, surprised employees at an appreciation ev (AP Photo/John Locher / AP Newsroom)

Blackstone, the New York-based private equity firm that owns the property, said the payout would cost a total of $27 million, but that is a drop compared to the $1.6 billion sale of property operations to casino giant MGM Resorts International. MGM owns the two properties flanking the Cosmopolitan, which means it will own a continuous stretch of the strip. 

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Companies have dropped bigger bonuses than expected during the pandemic, with Wall Street marking a 20% increase in 2021 over 2020 for bonuses. 

Vanderbilt University paid eligible employees – meaning those who worked throughout the pandemic – a one-time payment of $1500 as thanks for their "diligent work." 

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"It has not been easy, especially during the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic," Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. However, their "dedication to our vision and goals enables our university to operate at its highest level," he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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