Gaming Regulators Reaffirm Mask Mandate at Casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada

The last couple of weeks have been difficult for business in the United States. The country thought that it had put the worst of the pandemic behind it, but with Omicron super-spreader events registered around the US, the number of daily COVID-19 cases has reached new record highs.

Nevada Issues Firm Reminder to Follow Mask Mandates

As a result, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the city and state’s mask mandate will become tougher as 300,000 visitors are visiting Las Vegas alone this New Year’s, although many flights got canceled.

The board issued a reminder to licensee holders, including casinos and other gaming venues, that any failure to comply with the state’s mask mandate would result in serious enforcement action. All venues are obligated to enforce Emergency Directive 45 signed earlier by Gov. Steve Sisolak.

As per Emergency Directive 45, visitors would need to wear masks at all times when in a public place, regardless of their vaccination status. As a reminder, the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas did receive a $60,000 penalty for briefly failing to comply in March 2021. The regulator, though, would seek much greater penalties now, as the stakes are higher.

In theory, the board may choose to revoke a license while it deliberates what an appropriate course of action is, and a fine doesn’t seem to suffice.

Licenses May Have to Go If Rules Are Broken

The board issued a statement in which it encouraged compliance with the governor’s directive, based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It read:

“As Nevada prepares for a substantial rise in visitation for the New Year’s holiday, the Board will intensify its enforcement of Emergency Directive 045 at all licensed locations subject to the mask requirement to ensure the safety of Nevada’s residents and visitors.”

CDC

Should the board establish any breach of license conditions, now including mask mandates, it would seek action through the Nevada Gaming Commission, which is capable of taking stricter measures against any offending party.

The mask mandate was reaffirmed earlier in December as the cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continued to spread across the United States. The country saw its seven-day case number grow to 253,245, its highest since the pandemic started.

The good news is that while Omicron appears to be much more infectious, it also seems to have not led to an increase in the mortality rate. Regardless, Las Vegas and Nevada would need to enforce a strict mask mandate to avoid the return of lockdowns.

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