Posted: July 20, 2021, 10:02 a.m.
Last updated on: July 20, 2021, 11:39 a.m.
Starting at midnight Wednesday, employees whose jobs require them to work indoors with the public in the greater Nevada county – including casinos in the Las Vegas area – will be required to wear a mask while on the job. This was after the Clark County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday at a special meeting called to act after the Southern Nevada Health District issued a larger-scale recommendation last week as the COVID-19 cases continue to increase.
Masks will be mandatory until at least August 17 for all workers, including those who are fully vaccinated.
The mandate will not apply to customers or the general public in large assembly spaces, although there will be signs advising them that SNHD recommends that they also wear a mask. The seven commissioners received impassioned responses from the crowd present during the three-hour meeting, and the majority vehemently opposed any demands.
COVID cases in southern Nevada have about quintupled since the end of May, according to data from local and state health officials. This increase coincides with the lifting of COVID restrictions by the state, which has resulted in a significant increase in the number of visitors to Las Vegas, and the emergence of the Delta variant, a strain that is highly more transmissible than the COVID-19 virus. ‘origin.
This led the health district to issue its recommendation on Friday that everyone wear masks in crowded places, including grocery stores, malls, large gatherings and casinos.
The mask mandate seen as a preventive strike
The commissioners said they were also taking this step to avoid additional measures that could potentially put a brutal end to the region’s economic recovery. Just before the SNHD’s recommendation on Friday, Los Angeles County health officials issued an advisory urging residents of Southern California not to travel to Las Vegas due to the growing number of cases.
While elected officials agreed to take action on the mask’s mandate, several also spoke of the need to vaccinate more residents.
“This is really what will change the course where we are at,” said Commissioner Justin Jones.
According to state health data, only 45.5% of Clark County’s eligible population have completed an immunization schedule. It also shows that only 55.7% of eligible residents received an initial dose, well below the 70% target President Biden set for the country earlier this year.
Vegas Business, Gaming Industry Back Measurement
While most people at the emergency meeting objected to a mask requirement, the employee-only ordinance had public support from key business groups, including the Vegas Chamber and the Nevada Resort Association. The latter group represents the gaming industry in the state.
NRA President Virginia Valentine told commissioners that several casinos have achieved employee vaccination rates of 80% or more, which has enabled these sites to dispense with masks and end social distancing before the official reopening on June 1. However, she added that the organization and its members will support the measure as long as the county provides clear guidelines and gives operators time to implement the requirements at their facilities.
Recommendations from the Southern Nevada Health District are important reminders that masks, after vaccinations, are the most effective tool we have to reduce the spread and protect unvaccinated people so they can protect themselves and others. She said.
David Dazlich, the chamber’s director of government affairs, said several of its members had already reinstated masks for its workers as a precaution.
Several Vegas casinos did the same after the district issued its recommendation. This included Las Vegas Sands, which operates the Venetian and Palazzo resorts and The Sands Expo convention center.
Doctor: Masked employees set “expectations” for others
After an hour of public commentary, the commissioners spoke with SNHD chief medical officer Dr Cort Lohff about what district officials saw that prompted them to issue their recommendation last week.
In his questioning of Dr Lohff, Commissioner Ross Miller referred to the fact that a large number of workers in the gaming industry agreed to collect the injections in the spring, with the understanding that if they did, they would not have no need for masks at work. .
“What is the interest for public health to impose – in the context where we have verified that they are vaccinated – to require that everyone wear masks at all levels? Miller asked.
Lohff explained that “it is just easier” for everyone to be required because “it is difficult to know if they are actually vaccinated”.
Miller also said he had heard that employees without masks – in casinos and other public places – made customers and others not wear them. Lohff subscribed to this line of thinking.
“It creates some expectation that maybe the client should wear the mask as well,” Lohff said.
Jones wanted more than just a wait. He has been successful in getting businesses to post signs that the region’s health district recommends that everyone wear a mask.