- COVID-19 case rates have been rising in Nevada.
- Several Las Vegas casinos have responded by mandating masks for employees.
- No mask mandates for customers have been instantiated as of yet.
LAS VEGAS - While many states have relaxed restrictions due to the widespread availability of vaccines, the COVID-19 pandemic is still a danger in some respects. Las Vegas was one of the first jurisdictions to focus on relaxing restrictions as soon as benchmarks were met.
In order for Vegas’ casinos to reopen with no restrictions, employees were required to be vaccinated at an 80% rate. Notably, the total vaccination rate in the United States is still lower than that 80% benchmark.
Now, however, it is those same employees who will have to bear the brunt of increased mask usage in Las Vegas’ casinos.
Several Vegas casinos are requiring employees to resume wearing masks, while not requiring the same of guests.
The Westgate and the Las Vegas Sands, two of the largest casinos in Nevada, are among the casinos making this move.
The Las Vegas Sands issued the following statement on the matter:
“In response to new recommendations from the Southern Nevada Health District, we now require that all Team Members (vaccinated or not) wear company-issued face masks while working in indoor public spaces, and in indoor areas where people congregate. In addition, we have revised our signs posted at public entrances to share this new SNHD recommendation. Complimentary face masks are available to our guests at Front Desks, Grazie Desks, and Concierge Desks.”
The referenced recommendation from the Southern Nevada Health District discussed the efficacy of masks, and suggested that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people continue to wear them.
“As COVID-19 case counts and the positivity rate continues to increase in our community, the Southern Nevada Health District is now recommending both unvaccinated and vaccinated people wear masks in crowded indoor public places where they may have contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. Using masks correctly has proven to be effective in helping to prevent people from getting and spreading COVID-19. With the rise in cases and slowing vaccine rates in Clark County, the Health District’s recommendation to wear masks in crowded public settings, including grocery stores, malls, large events, and casinos, is a step to fully utilize the tools we have available to stop the pandemic.”
Still, the casinos, following the letter of recommendation from the Southern Nevada Health District, seem to be requiring cooperation from their employees, but only suggesting it for their guests.
The casinos themselves will likely not want to implement mask mandates, for fear of driving away potential customers in the gambling business.
At the same time, mandating masks only for employees, who are overwhelmingly already vaccinated, seems performative to a degree as long as customers aren’t masked up. It remains to be seen where the rising case rates in Nevada lead, although a full lockdown does seem unlikely at this point.