Nevada Casinos Welcome End to Mandatory Mask Mandate

  • Nevada’s gaming regulator confirmed an end to the mask mandate on Thursday
  • Local jurisdictions can still enforce an indoor mask requirement in their areas
  • Industry minds hope that the ending of the mandate could boost tourism levels
  • Nevada casinos have only had a brief respite from the mask mandate since March 2020
Man celebrating taking off a mask
Las Vegas casinos have hailed the ending of Nevada’s mandatory mask mandate. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Getting back to normality

Las Vegas casinos have welcomed the news that Nevada’s indoor mask mandate is no longer in effect. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced the mandate’s immediate end on Thursday morning. Many other states are also rolling back similar COVID-19 measures due to falling case numbers.

Local jurisdictions can still decide to keep the mask-wearing requirement

The Nevada Gaming Control Board confirmed on Thursday that gaming operators no longer have to implement an indoor mask mandate. Local jurisdictions can still decide to keep the mask-wearing requirement in place, however.

In a statement, the board said: “If a licensee is subject to a local jurisdiction’s requirement relating to masks, the board expects full compliance from the licensee.” Most Las Vegas casinos have now removed signs reminding patrons to wear face coverings.

A potential boost

There are hopes that the ending of the mask mandate could boost tourism levels in Nevada, particularly international travel and conventions. It will also take the pressure off casino workers, although certain operators will still make workers wear masks. Gamblers can also still wear masks if they feel more comfortable doing so.

It’s really an exciting day.”

The STRAT casino resort general manager Stephen Thayer hailed the ending of the mask mandate. While he noted that the pandemic is not yet over, he labeled the removal of the mask mandate a big step towards normality. Thayer commented: “It’s really an exciting day. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since we started this process.”

Other groups that reacted positively to Governor Sisolak’s announcement on Thursday included the Nevada Resort Association, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and MGM Resorts International.

Restrictions gradually easing

This is not the first time that Nevada authorities have lifted the mask mandate. In May, Governor Steve Sisolak announced that people would no longer have to wear a mask indoors. This didn’t last long, however. The requirement’s reintroduction came at the end of July as a result of a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the state.

Nevada casinos have recovered strongly from COVID-19 pandemic struggles, reporting an all-time record state gaming revenue last year of $13.4bn.

Nevada casinos have faced significant restrictions to their operations since March 2020. Properties closed for a few months before reopening with capacity restrictions and the mask mandate in place. Despite some bumps along the way, casinos have seen the gradual easing of restrictions. This sped up after the rollout of the vaccination program.