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Culinary union talks about members who have died because of COVID before remembrance

Posted at 8:09 AM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 17:18:16-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV)  — Clark County will join the rest of the nation in honoring those who have perished as a result of the pandemic with a live televised remembrance on Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.

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The Presidential Inauguration Committee has asked communities around the nation to participate in a national moment of unity and remembrance by illuminating buildings, lighting candles and ringing church bells.

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While the pandemic has impacted nearly every person in some way, few groups have been affected like the powerful Culinary Worker's Union with members losing their jobs and lives since the union began tracking impact in March.

Culinary Worker's Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline said during the initial business shut-down in March 2020 98% of workers lost their jobs and half are still unemployed.

She said, more importantly, 94 members or their family have been killed by the coronavirus, and that will be at the front of her mind during COVID Remembrance Day.

"The first moment we have to take and think about it is in the loss of the families and respect that because it's something where they're never going to get it back," she said.

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The county will participate by illuminating its rotunda at the Clark County Government Center downtown with up to 30 beams of light – one for every 100 people who have perished locally as a result of the pandemic.

The illumination of the rotunda will commence following brief remarks by Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Commission Vice Chairman Jim Gibson.

Violinists Wonyoung Na and Dmytro Nehrych, who are called “Sweet Tone,” will perform and candles will be lit as part of the remembrance.

“The number of people who have passed from the pandemic is staggering,” said Commissioner Kirkpatrick. "And it’s important that we honor their memory while remaining steadfast in our efforts to combat the virus and bring the pandemic to an end.”

Las Vegas City Hall, the gateway arches on Las Vegas Boulevard and the lights on Main Street will also be lit a light amber color.

Residents can participate in the memorial by lighting candles in their windows for the nationwide time of remembrance.

13 Action News will livestream the event. It will also be viewable on Clark County's social media pages and on Clark County Television.