Mask mandate lifted in Nevada casinos

Las Vegas casinos responded quickly after Governor Steve Sisolak announced the immediate end of Nevada’s indoor mask mandate on Thursday morning, removing signs that reminded patrons to keep their faces covered.

“It’s really an exciting day. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since we started this process,” Stephen Thayer, chief executive of The Strat, said in an interview Thursday after the governor’s announcement. “We’re not out of the pandemic yet, but it’s a good start to getting back to normal.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board followed suit Thursday after the governor’s announcement, issuing new guidance to gaming operators that those inside casinos no longer need to wear masks.

“Per Governor Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 052, effective immediately, individuals are no longer required to wear masks in indoor public areas of licensed gaming facilities, unless a local jurisdiction still mandates such a requirement,” said the notice from Board of Control Chairman Brin Gibson. . “If a licensee is subject to a local jurisdiction’s mask requirement, the council expects licensees to comply fully.”

The decision to rescind the mandate could provide an immediate boost to tourism in the state, Thayer said, especially just days away from Super Bowl festivities. And that should help fuel the return of major conventions and international travel, he added.

The end of the mandate also means that employees will no longer have to tell guests to put on their masks, which Thayer says is a big relief for workers.

“Nobody wants to be the mask police and tell people to put them on when they’re having a good time,” Thayer said. “It allows our employees to focus on what we do best here in Las Vegas and here at the Strat, focusing on customer experience and customer service.”

Thayer also echoed the governor’s comments in his announcement asking people to be kind to those who choose to wear a mask in public.

“We want to welcome and be respectful of those who want to wear masks, employees or guests. Everyone has different expectations in what they feel comfortable doing and we want to respect that,” he said.

In a statement, Culinary Union Local 226, which represents about 60,000 hospitality workers in Nevada, said some employers still require workers to wear a mask and urged the public to respect those who do them. wear by choice.

“If workers want to continue wearing their masks at work, it is their right and they must be treated with understanding and respect,” the union said.

Other sources within the gaming and tourism industries reacted positively to Sisolak’s announcement on Thursday.

“This is an important step forward, and we applaud the governor’s action,” said Virginia Valentine, president and CEO of the Nevada Resort Association. “We are pleased to see health metrics improving and recognize the significance of today’s announcement as further progress toward a return to normalcy and Nevada’s full economic recovery. As always, the resort industry will continue to adhere to all state and local COVID requirements and guidelines to ensure the health and safety of its employees and guests. We encourage individuals to get vaccinated and boosted as this remains the best protection against COVID and its variants.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also weighed in.

“We appreciate Governor Sisolak’s leadership in working with his team of medical advisors and analyzing the data to allow the state to overturn the mask mandate,” said Lori Kraft, senior vice president of communications. with the LVCVA.

Contact Colton Lochhead at [email protected] To follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. To follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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