Several weeks ago, President Joe Biden said that anyone who was fully masked could go out in public without a mask. Several gambling regulators in various states also confirmed that guests and employees were not obliged to wear masks if fully vaccinated. However, this decision was reversed in Nevada on Tuesday by the Clark County Commission.
Starting Wednesday, July 21, 2021, all employees working on casino floors or inside casino facilities in Nevada must wear a mask. This decision comes following a unanimous vote on Tuesday by the Clark County Commission.
Last week, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) came up with several recommendations. Their recommendations come after the continued rise of the COVID-19 cases. All workers, including those vaccinated, must wear masks at least until August 17, 2021.
According to data from state and local health officials, the coronavirus cases have increased five times since the end of May 2021. The rise of these cases coincides with the state lifting the coronavirus restrictions. This led to increased visitors to Las Vegas, leading to Delta variant COVID strain that is transmissible than the first COVID-19 variant.
Due to the rise of the Coronavirus cases, the health district came up with recommendations on Friday, July 16, 2021. One of the recommendations was for residents to wear masks in casinos, shopping malls, grocery stores, crowded environments, and large gatherings.
Casino guests will not be mandated to wear masks. But, each casino will put up signs informing them of the SNHD recommendations on wearing masks.
The Clark County Commission, comprising seven members, spent three hours in the meeting. A crowd was in attendance, whereby most opposed the new requirement while some welcomed the recommendations.
Wearing Masks Is a Way of Preventing Further Measures
Several things contributed to the commissioners’ decision. They said that the mask mandate was a way of avoiding other measures that would halt the county’s economy. Several days before SNHD’s recommendation, health officials at Los Angeles County advised its residents not to visit Las Vegas because of the high number of the coronavirus infections.
The commissioners also recommended that more residents should get vaccinated. According to Commissioner Justin Jones, vaccination is the only thing that will change the current caseload.
The state health data shows that only 45.5 percent of residents in Clark County are fully vaccinated. The data also illustrates that only 55.7 percent of eligible residents have received one dose, contrary to President Biden’s recommended 70 percent goal.
Masked Employees Create Expectations for Others
During the meeting on Tuesday, the commissioners started by taking the public’s comments. Then, the commissioners moved their focus to SNHD doctors, particularly the chief medical officer, Dr. Cort Lohff.
Commissioner Ross Miller questioned Dr. Cort on why the health officials recommended a mask mandate for casino workers. Most of these workers are fully vaccinated as they were told they would go mask-free if fully vaccinated.
The doctor responded by saying that it was hard to know which employees were vaccinated and who were not. Thus, Cort recommended that every worker should wear a mask while at work.
Miller noted that workers in the casinos and other places not wearing masks contributed to customers not wearing masks. Lohff agreed with Miller. He said that employees wearing masks will create an expectation that customers should wear masks too.
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