Nevada Reinforcing Casino Mask Mandate in Worst-Hit Areas
Nevada is returning to a mask mandate at its casinos this week in areas of the state hardest hit by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The spread of coronavirus forced casinos across the nation to shut down in the spring of 2020 and Nevada, which has 215 commercial casinos and four tribal casinos, according to the American Gaming Association, took an especially hard economic hit.
Now, after months of declining infection rates because vaccines became widely available, those rates are on the rise again, largely thanks to the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a mandate on Tuesday that people must wear masks in public places whether they are vaccinated or not – at least in counties with a high percentage of reported COVID-19 cases including Clark County, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas is in Clark County.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a statement, citing CDC directives, that “All employees, patrons and guests” at Nevada casinos in the most affected counties must wear face masks as of Friday, July 30.
The latest twist in Nevada’s fight against COVID-19 comes just months after the state allowed casinos to return to 50% capacity, then 100%. For instance, Las Vegas casinos were allowed to expand back to 100% capacity in May 2021.
COVID-19 Had Major Impact on Nevada Casinos
Nevada was stringent in May 2020 in enforcing new coronavirus-related guidelines in an effort to stop the disease from spreading when it first broke out in the United States. At the time, casinos had to follow new social distancing guidelines and enforce a 50% capacity limit. That limit was reduced even more as 2020 went on, before a vaccine was widely available as it is now.
But now the Review-Journal said that, according to CDC data, 12 of Nevada’s 17 counties have elevated COVID-19 rates.
At least two Las Vegas casinos, the Venetian and Palazzo, issued a mandate last week that all employees must again wear face coverings inside the casinos. The Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns both facilities.