Mandatory Masks Make a Comeback in Las Vegas Casinos as 12 Nevada Counties Up Measures

  • 12 Nevada counties, including Clark, require masks in public indoor places starting July 30
  • The emergency directive comes after the CDC issued its recommendation on July 27
  • Nevada is in the top four high-risk US states in terms of its seven-day percent COVID-19 positivity
  • Sin City casino staff are already under a mandatory masks-on ruling until August 17
  • A new MGM policy requires workers without proof of vaccinations to pony up for tests
mandatory mask sign inside a Las Vegas casino
Nevada state officials have decreed that face masks are mandatory in public indoor spaces across 12 Nevadan counties, which include Clark and its City of Las Vegas jurisdiction. [Image:]

Mandate follows a new emergency directive

What’s been in Nevada’s cards during the past fortnight has finally come to pass as state officials announced that, regardless of vaccination status, people in Las Vegas and most of Nevada must wear masks in public indoor spaces.

The masks-on rule is effective starting July 30 at 12:01am.

After issuing the new emergency directive under a July 27 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governor Steve Sisolak took to Twitter to call on Nevada residents and visitors to “mask up”:

The CDC’s guidance is binding in Nevada, and the national health agency’s recommendation that masks are a must in “indoor public settings in counties of substantial or high transmission” applies to 12 of the state’s 17 counties.

As of July 27, Nevada counties that are red-flagged as needing to mask up are Clark, Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Washoe, and White Pine. Masks remain optional for vaccinated individuals in Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Pershing, and Storey.

The CDC has shared a link to its data tracker, which lists Nevada, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida as the top four high-risk US states in terms of their seven-day percent COVID-19 positivity:

Las Vegas casinos a half-step ahead

The new mask mandate won’t come as a shock, however, to Sin City casino staff. Under a Clark County Commission ruling effective July 22 through August 17, Las Vegas hospitality workers must wear masks in public indoor spaces.

The new directive will be even less of a shock for workers at Las Vegas Sands, Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, and The Venetian. The three casinos of their own accord implemented masks for staff following a July 16 recommendation by the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD).

mask mandate will apply to all workers, patrons, and guests of gaming establishments

Another body tweeting news of its masks directive to licensees was the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB):

The NGCB stipulated that the mask mandate will apply to all workers, patrons, and guests of gaming establishments in the relevant counties. With Clark County on the list, the new directive includes the jurisdictional area of the Las Vegas Strip.

The move back to masks across Nevada comes hot on the heels of health officials in California, Chicago, and Hawaii warning residents against traveling to Las Vegas because of the surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

MGM says unvaccinated staff must pay for tests

MGM Resorts International, meanwhile, is playing hardball with its unvaccinated staff. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a company policy now requires workers who don’t have proof of vaccinations to pony up for regular tests.

Employees getting tested on-site will need to shell out a $15 co-pay fee. Staff opting to take the test off-site need to hand over proof of a negative test result from an “FDA-sanctioned molecular PCR test.” Citing the policy, the LVRJ reported that results from “antigen and home testing kits will not be accepted.”

MGM staff will get grouped alphabetically by their surnames and each group gets assigned “a specific week for testing.” The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said it “was supportive” of MGM’s policy.

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