Nevada Man Charged with Trespassing After He Allegedly Refused to Wear Mask at Hard Rock Casino Bar

Posted on: July 5, 2020, 10:27h. 

Last updated on: July 6, 2020, 08:52h.

A 32-year-old Nevada man was arrested for trespassing early Saturday, July 4, after he allegedly refrained from putting on a facial covering while sitting at a bar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.

Nevada governor mask mandate
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is threatening stepped-up enforcement of his face mask mandate, with one unmasked man in Stateline, arrested on Saturday while at a casino bar. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The man, who lives in Ruhenstroth, Nevada, and was not identified in local press accounts, was ordered by casino security staff at about 2 am to put on the mask while he was in the Stateline gaming property.

He was told repeatedly by security officers to put on the mask or leave the bar, according to the Record-Courier, a local newspaper in Gardnerville, Nevada. He later was taken into custody by officers for trespassing and charged by the Douglas County Sheriff’s office.

When speaking with sheriff’s deputies, he told them “he did not care about the face masks and was not wearing one,” the Record-Courier said. Eventually, he started to argue with the officers.

Douglas County Sheriff: ‘No Mask Arrests’

The arrest was made despite the Douglas County Sheriff’s office issuing a statement on June 25 that it would not arrest anyone for violating Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mask order.

Due to the minor nature of the offense, the potential for negative enforcement encounters, and anticipating the various ways in which the order could be violated, it would be inappropriate for deputies to criminally enforce the Governor’s directive. Accordingly, the Sheriff’s Office will not be doing so,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement last month.

Later this weekend, the man appeared before Stateline’s Tahoe Justice Court where Justice of the Peace Richard Glasson ordered him to wear a mask or another facial covering approved by Nevada or California authorities, the Record-Courier reported.

The defendant was also ordered to stay out of the casinos in Stateline. He was released on his own recognizance.

Tougher Coronavirus Enforcement

Last week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) announced it had opened 111 investigations into possible compliance failures at state casinos. The NGCB’s Enforcement Division conducted 1,453 inspections and observations of nonrestricted casinos to determine whether state-mandated health and safety measures were being properly executed.

The NGCB also conducted 6,008 inspections of restricted gaming licensees. Restricted licenses allow businesses to operate no more than 15 slot machines. Gaming at these venues must be incidental to the primary business.

In Las Vegas, The Venetian denied a recent report Saturday that it was rumored to be closing temporarily because of coronavirus concerns. The same report said Caesars Palace could also temporarily shutter after the Independence Day weekend. But that, too, was an unconfirmed rumor reported by Vital Vegas.

Pressure is continuing to build on Gov. Sisolak and state legislators to enact a bill during this week’s special session that would require more safeguards to protect casino workers from coronavirus. One gaming property employee, identified as Adolfo Fernandez, a utility porter at Caesars Palace, died last month after testing positive for COVID-19. The Culinary Union wants the proposed legislation named in Fernandez’s memory.

Last week, diverse businesses in Nevada were admonished by Sisolak to comply with state coronavirus requirements, such as wearing facial coverings. State inspectors found only 49 percent of businesses inspected in a single day, such as bars, restaurants, and other enterprises were compliant with state COVID-19 regulations.

“I will not hesitate to take swift and decisive actions next week directed at targeted industries or areas … concerning COVID-19 trends and non-compliance,” the governor said in a statement issued last week.