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Nevada reimposes indoor mask mandate in Las Vegas

July 28, 2021
5 min read
Nevada reimposes indoor mask mandate in Las Vegas
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The much-ballyhooed Vegas comeback has run into another obstacle, as the state of Nevada is reinstating its indoor mask mandate for everyone in an effort to containing the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Steve Sisolak issued an emergency directive on Tuesday, requiring face masks be worn indoors in public places by everyone — vaccinated or not — in 12 of Nevada's 17 counties that show high rates of COVID transmission.

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That includes Clark County, which the City of Las Vegas is a part of. The governor’s edict follows the latest update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding masks. The CDC now recommends people wear masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates, whether they are vaccinated or not.

If you're planning a visit to Vegas in the foreseeable future, this means you need to pack your masks. As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 30, face coverings are mandatory inside casinos, restaurants, bars and shops. The governor gave businesses and residents a three-day grace period to prepare for the change.

The casino industry supports the decision. The Nevada Gaming Control Board put out its own directive to the state’s gaming licensees, instructing them to follow the CDC guidelines and Sisolak’s order. Casinos must also post signage across their properties letting customers know where face masks are required.

MGM Resorts, the biggest casino operator in Vegas, issued a statement saying, “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of guests, employees and our community. We continually evaluate and update our policies based on the latest information and guidance from health experts and public officials.”

Wynn Las Vegas also put out a statement saying it will comply with the mask decree. “We will follow the Governor’s and Control Board’s directive and require all guests and employees to wear masks indoors, which we will communicate with signage and masks at entrance doors to the resort,” it said.

The state’s directive does provide exceptions for participants in certain activities or events, including athletes, performers and musicians. Customers at those performances and events, however, will have to mask up.

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In a statement announcing the new mandate, the governor's office said, “Businesses and residents in counties with substantial or high transmission are strongly urged to adopt the changes as soon as possible.”

According to CDC data cited by the governor's office, the following counties fall into this category: Carson, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Washoe and White Pine.

The return of mandatory mask usage in Vegas has seemed inevitable for weeks, even as local officials struggled to balance concerns about restarting the area's tourism-dependent economy with public safety worries.

Clark County had recently ordered all Vegas employees who work indoors to mask up, but resisted extending the mandate to tourists and other customers over the objections of local health officials.

Governor Sisolak dropped the indoor mask-wearing order in May for vaccinated people, again following CDC guidance. It remained in place for unvaccinated people, but that order was mostly unenforced and flat-out ignored according to local media reports. Within weeks, as the state relaxed most pandemic restrictions and the delta strain began spreading, COVID-19 rates started to climb.

Related: Some states warn against visiting Vegas for fear of rising COVID rates

Nevada is currently struggling with one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. Hospitalizations are rapidly climbing in the area -- with Clark County, in particular, seeing a sharp rise -- and nearly all of the new cases can be traced to the highly infectious delta variant.

The CDC’s new recommendation for indoor mask usage applies to areas where there are at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. That includes about 60% of U.S. counties, according to The Associated Press. There have been 236 new cases per 100,000 population in Clark County in that time frame, according to the Southern Nevada Health District’s website.

Health district officials said in a statement they support the state's new directive, and added, “While using masks correctly has proven to be effective in helping to prevent people from getting and spreading COVID-19, the best, most effective step people can take to protect themselves is to get fully vaccinated.”

Of course, Las Vegas isn't the only city in Nevada where the mask mandate could have an impact on tourism. Carson and Washoe are home to a number of casino resorts. Reno is in Washoe, so that city's casino properties will also be impacted by the new mask rules.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more