Nevada Gov. Sisolak Orders Statewide Mask Policy Starting Friday, Caesars, MGM Make Coverings Mandatory Nationwide
Posted on: June 25, 2020, 01:09h.
Last updated on: June 26, 2020, 01:27h.
In Vegas casinos, it’ll soon be wear a mask or no dice. Literally. On Wednesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued an order mandating that the state’s residents and visitors wear a face mask in public. The directive, which starts Friday, includes Nevada casinos.
The decisions come as Nevada faces a growing crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last nine days, the state has posted a record number of new cases four times. The most recent came Monday when 462 tests returned positive for the novel coronavirus.
On Tuesday, the number of hospitalizations confirmed or suspected to be related to the virus jumped nearly 13 percent.
In an announcement detailing the order, Sisolak told Nevadans research shows that when 80 percent of the state wears a mask or proper facial covering, it reduces the number of new cases substantially.
I’m offering us all another opportunity to limit our risk for exposure and infection and to keep our businesses open and our economy moving,” Sisolak said. “For Nevada to stay safe and stay open, we must make face coverings a routine part of our daily life.”
The order does come with some exceptions. Most notably, those seated at restaurants or bars can remove the mask while they’re eating or drinking, provided they can stay six feet away from people not in their household.
Reaction Positive, Mostly
The reaction to the governor’s order was mostly positive, as a number of lawmakers, including some Republicans as well as members of the business community, endorsed Sisolak’s plan.
“I think the bottom line on masks is this … wearing them expresses respect and concern for your fellow human,” tweeted state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno). “Also … preventing the spread of the virus will help keep our economy open. Going back should not be an option.”
Not all agreed. That included Elko County Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza, who posted his criticism on Facebook.
“It’s my opinion that this order is unforceable [sic] and the Sheriff’s dept. will not make any attempt to enforce the governor’s order on businesses and/or individuals,” he said.
According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Elko County, located in the northeastern part of the state with a population of about 53,000, has 76 cases of COVID-19 and one death out of 4,133 tests administered.
Clark County, home to Las Vegas and 2.3 million of the state’s 3.1 million residents, has nearly 11,500 cases, or 80 percent of all Nevada cases, and 404 of the state’s 494 fatalities.
Caesars, MGM Mandate Masks
Hours before Sisolak issued his order, Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp. announced a new policy in effect Wednesday that requiring masks whenever patrons, workers, and others – including passersby – are inside a company resort or casino.
Some of Caesars’ properties have taken it a step further, such as Caesars Southern Indiana’s decision to make its gaming floor non-smoking. However, other Caesars locations may include some exceptions for smokers, as well as bar and restaurant patrons.
“Casino customers may continue to drink or smoke subject to existing rules, but they must wear a mask per our new policy,” a Caesars spokesperson told Casino.org. “To enjoy a drink or a smoke, customers should simply lower their mask, drink or smoke, and then lift their mask back into place.”
After Sisolak gave his order, MGM Resorts International followed suit and announced a similar measure for its casinos and resorts across the country. It, too, will take effect on Friday.
Both casino chains said those who refuse to wear a mask would be asked to leave.
“It is clear that the coronavirus still presents a significant public health threat, and masks have proven to be one of the best ways to curtail the spread,” MGM’s statement read. “We want guests and employees to feel comfortable that we are putting their health and safety first.”
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