Prairie Meadows Casino Latest to Reinstate COVID-19 Mask Mandate

As COVID-19’s delta strain keeps spreading, wearing masks in indoor places is starting to become a mandate. The governments are not the only supporters of these new rules; many casinos have also decided to follow suit and mandate masks for the patrons that come to enjoy gambling games. Casinos in Nevada, Mississippi and other states have already brought back masks, and now Iowa gambling venues are being added to the list.

Prairie Meadows Brings Back Face Masks

One casino that is adamant about protecting its guests and employees is Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack and Hotel, located in Altoona, Iowa. Starting at 8 AM CT yesterday, both patrons and the employees at this facility have to wear masks while they are on the property.

Even though the casino does not have any plans to work with reduced capacity, it has implemented other measures such as using electrostatic sprayers, as well as disinfectants every day. Policies on social distancing are also present. These measures were announced on Friday after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks while being in indoor areas where the spread is considered high.

Prairie Meadows’ Location Is in an Area Where the Virus Spreads Significantly

Data by the CDC suggests that the area where Prairie Meadows is located in an area where the virus has a significant spread. Moreover, CDC stated on Friday that for every 100,000 people, 66.1 had the virus. This rate concerns the past seven days and it is a 75% jump compared to the one last week.

Tribal casinos are also mandating masks for their gaming floors. On Friday, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in western North Carolina decided to reinstate masks. The two Harrah’s casinos relayed the order and it was put into effect on Friday, at 5 PM ET. The EBCI casinos shared a statement on their Facebook pages in which they said by reinstating mask policies, the facilities can do their part to make sure the virus does not spread.

The San Manuel Casino in Highland, CA, which is about 60 miles east of LA, also reinstated its masks policies and strongly recommended vaccinated people to wear them, as well. The Pechanga Casino Resort also announced that it will require its guests to wear masks while being indoors. Numerous casinos in South Mississippi added mask policies to protect the patrons and stop the virus from spreading.

Public Reaction On The Mask Policies is a Mixed

The goal of all casinos, and other establishments for that matter, is to protect its employees and guests, but the public has mixed feelings on the mask policies. Brett Kalill, a Facebook user, commented on the situation at the official site of Harrah’s Cherokee. 

According to Kalill, his trip was with the intention of getting away from the madness and let the problems go away for a second. But, with the mask mandates, he states that he’s forced to do things that he doesn’t want and that takes the fun away. Guests that are vaccinated also had trouble understanding why should they wear masks.

As for the reason why, The New York Times reported an internal CDC document on Friday that stated that the Delta strain of COVID-19 is as contagious as chickenpox and more infectious than the common cold. Furthermore, vaccinated people can still contract the virus as the vaccine prevents them from getting seriously ill and infected people are still likely to spread the virus.

Finally, while people under the age of 12 can only receive the vaccine on an emergency basis, meaning that most of them cannot be vaccinated, they can still contract and spread the virus.

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