he Nevada Gaming Control Board confirmed Wednesday that Clark County’s mandate for employees to wear masks while in indoor spaces also will apply to all casinos, and that it will ensure its compliance. The measure became effective at 12:00 am on Thursday.
Back in May, when the NGCB announced the lifting of all applicable COVID-19 restrictions starting in June, “it did so knowing that the pandemic would be an evolving emergency for the foreseeable future, and that local jurisdictions would act in the best interests of their constituents,” NGCB Chairman J. Brin Gibson said in a statement Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Clark County Commission voted to require employees of public-facing indoor spaces to wear masks. “As a partner in the mitigation and management of the COVID-19 pandemic since its inception, the Board is fully supportive of the Southern Nevada Health District and the Clark County Commission in its mask mandate for employees in Clark County. The Board will ensure compliance with this requirement in Clark County within the Board’s areas of jurisdiction,” Gibson added.
Last Friday, the health district recommended that people in Clark County wear a mask while indoors, vaccinated or not. After that, some Las Vegas casinos, including The Venetian and Palazzo, changed their policy to require masks for all employees.
Keith Salwoski, executive director of public relations for The Venetian, said Wednesday that the company is now also requiring weekly on-site testing for employees who have not provided proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver said that the company will “of course follow the new mask mandate,” and noted that 87 percent of Wynn employees in Las Vegas have been vaccinated.
MGM Resorts International will implement the county’s new mandate but its mask policy for guests, which allows vaccinated guests to go maskless while unvaccinated guests are required to wear a mask won’t change.
“The health department recommends everyone — all guests and employees — wear masks when indoors, and we have posted signs throughout our properties communicating those recommendations," MGM spokesman Brian Ahern said. "Masks continue to be available for guests at all MGM properties, and we remain vigilant in following our health and safety protocols.”
The mandate comes as the region is experiencing another spike in COVID-19 numbers amid stalled vaccination rates and the spread of more contagious variants like the delta. Gov. Steve Sisolak, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dropped the state’s initial mask mandate on May 13. By mid-June, COVID-19 case metrics, including infection rates, case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths, have all been on the rise once again.
The recent surge prompted Los Angeles County’s top health official to recommend on July 15 that residents not travel to Las Vegas. And on Tuesday, the Chicago Department of Public Health added Nevada to its COVID-19 travel advisory list, and health officials in Kauai discouraged residents from traveling to Las Vegas.