Nevada scraps indoor mask mandates for casinos

Date Published

Authored by

Lisa Michaels

Coronavirus masking

Nevada casinos are officially mask-free zones following Gov. Steve Sisolak and the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s (NGCB) decision to remove the indoor mask mandate for the state.

The NGCB issued a note to licensees on Thursday, referencing Sisolak's Emergency Directive that stated,

Effective immediately, individuals are no longer required to wear a mask in public indoor settings in licensed gaming establishments, unless a local jurisdiction still imposes such a requirement,” “If a licensee is subject to a local jurisdiction’s requirement relating to masks, the board expects full compliance from the licensee.

The power to decide on mask mandates is held by the board and not the governor.

We have seen a rapid decline in case numbers coupled with declining hospitalizations; a drop of COVID-19 detected in wastewater, and a broader availability of testing and available treatments,” Sisolak shared during a recent news conference.

The change lined up with the beginning of the Super Bowl, which the American Gaming Association has predicted will attract up to 31.4 million American bettors with an expected $7.61 billion handle, an increase of 78% from 2021.

Sweeping Change

The International President and CEO of MGM Resorts, Bill Hornbuckle, advised that there would be no face mask requirement for guests or employees at the company’s Nevada properties as well as in a few other states who have also chosen to do away with mask mandates.

Like you, I’m excited to see things beginning to return to normal after more than two long years. I’m also excited to see your faces again, as well as the faces of our guests. It’s been too long.” Hornbuckle announced in a letter addressed to employees.

The Strat’s VP and GM, Stephen Thayer, advised in a media interview that the scrapping mask mandates was vital to Las Vegas’ recovery.

It sends a big message that we are ready to get back to group business and normalcy. It’s been very confusing as to what the rules were. This makes it feel again like it’s normal,” he stated.

Derek Stevens, CEO and owner of the D Las Vegas and Circa, also spoke about the recent development, adding,

We’ve done vaccinations events at Circa for the past four months. For people who want to take the masks off, we are going to let them. For people that want to keep them on, that’s their prerogative.

Both properties have emphasised that any employees or guests who opt to keep wearing their masks will be supported.

Under the Gun

Sisolak’s decision may be attributed in part to the pressure he was enduring as other states lifted their mask mandates, with Nevada being one of the last six states still upholding similar restrictions.

Nevada’s mask mandates came back into effect in July 2021, in response to fresh outbreaks of the delta variant with a state emergency order in full effect.

Sisolak now advises that the CDC’s guidelines are not binding in Nevada anymore due to the new executive order.

I want to be clear, the emergency is not over. The pandemic is not over. We’re still getting far too many cases, far too many hospitalizations and far too many deaths,” Sisolak concluded.


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