CARSON CITY — The state of Nevada announced Wednesday that it will mandate the use of face coverings in public places in an effort to stem an increase of coronavirus cases that has hit the state as casinos, restaurants and other businesses began reopening.
“No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said, distilling the policy down to a tagline.
Nevada has reported more than 14,300 virus cases and 494 deaths since the onset of the pandemic. A downward trend in cases previously led Sisolak and health officials to move the state to a second phase of reopening before new cases began to rise.
“For Nevada to stay safe and stay open, we must make face coverings a routine part of our daily life,” the first-term Democratic governor said at a news conference.
When the mandate takes effect Thursday at midnight, Nevada will join California, North Carolina and Washington in requiring face-coverings, after those states’ Democratic governors implemented similar mandates.
The face-covering mandate will apply to all indoor and outdoor spaces where people convene. Individuals with medical conditions and disabilities, and children 2 to 9 will be exempt from the mandate, Sisolak said.
In response to the mandate, both MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment have announced mandatory mask policies at their respective properties.
MGM is requiring masks for all guests and visitors inside public spaces at every MGM Resorts property in the United States, effective by Friday, June 26. The company previously required all employees to wear masks, while guests and visitor mask requirements were based on local regulations.
In a company statement, MGM Resorts said that if a guest is in need of a mask, it will provide one. Those who fail to comply will be asked to leave the property.
Caesars issued a similar mandate, requiring everyone indoors at its properties across the Caesars network to wear masks at all times, except when eating or drinking. The updated mask policy went into effect on June 24 and applies to all employees, vendors, contractors, guests and passersby in properties. Previously, all employees plus guests at table games were required to wear masks at its properties.
Caesars’ universal mask requirement applies to all of its businesses currently open in Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada and Indiana, as well as tribal properties in Arizona, California and North Carolina. It will also apply to additional properties as they reopen in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and Ontario.
“We promised that Caesars would continue to evaluate the latest recommendations, directives and medical science regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and modify our enhanced health and safety protocols accordingly,” said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment. “As a result, we are immediately requiring everyone in our properties to wear masks because the scientific evidence strongly suggests that wearing masks and practicing social distancing may be the most important deterrents to spreading COVID-19 from person to person.”
In Nevada, the governor’s directive doesn’t specify an end date for the mask requirement, but Sisolak said all plans to move forward with his reopening plan were on hold.
Sisolak also said he had no intention to implement quarantine requirements on out-of-state visitors to Nevada — like those in place in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — because he was confident requiring masks would prevent the virus from spreading.
With file from The Associated Press