Casinos Increasingly Demand Visitors Wear Only Cloth or Surgical Masks to Curb COVID-19 Spread

Posted on: September 2, 2020, 05:55h. 

Last updated on: September 2, 2020, 10:59h.

Two California gaming properties are among the latest venues which will restrict players to wearing only cloth or surgical masks to cover their faces while on the gaming floor to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

More Casinos Limit Guests to Wear Only Surgical or Cloth Masks
Players at a craps table at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas wore masks when the gaming property reopened in June. (Image: John Locher/Associated Press)

Starting on Monday, September 7, Augustine Casino in Coachella will no longer allow guests to use bandannas, neck gaiters, or masks with openings such as valves, according to NBC News in Palm Springs. This Tuesday, Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula implemented a similar mask requirement.

The new policy comes as recommendations change from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A Duke University study encouraged health officials to adopt the new requirements.

According to the the study, using bandannas, masks with openings, or neck gaiters are not as effective to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as are cloth or surgical masks, local California health officials told NBC.

Duke Leads Changes

The mask by Duke researchers showed that a fitted N95 or a three-layer surgical mask is the best among options in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Mask alternatives, such as neck fleece or bandanas, offer very little protection,” the study found.

First, federal health officials urged Americans not to wear facial coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus. That changed in April, and in July the CDC issued a statement that “there is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield added in the statement. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus — particularly when used universally within a community setting.”

Mask Crackdown

“This is not [in] reaction to anything that has happened within the casino. We continually monitor the CDC’s guidelines around COVID and how it can spread, and we make adjustments to our policy,” Lindsay Grant, the Augustine casino’s marketing director, said to NBC.

Last Friday, the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa in Cabazon, California, changed its mask policy, too, The Press-Enterprise, a local newspaper based in Riverside, California, reported. San Diego County’s Sycuan Casino Resort updated its mask policy recently as well.

Elsewhere, the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan also will no longer allow guests at the tribal gaming property to wear bandannas, masks with valves, or neck gaiters. The new policy starts next Monday, MLive reported.

Casinos nationwide now require masks to be worn by all employees and visitors.