Nevada Unmasks Gamblers

Governor lifts mandate for most public places
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2022 7:12 PM CST
Masks Come Off in Nevada Casinos
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, shown last August, made his lifting of the mask mandate effective immediately.   (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

(Newser) – Signs announcing face masks were required came down in Nevada casinos on Thursday, after the state dropped its mandate for public places. The change was effective immediately. "It's really an exciting day," said Stephen Thayer, general manager of the Strat in Las Vegas. Employees were relieved that they won't have to remind customers to put their masks on, he said, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Nobody wants to be the mask police and tell people to put it up when they’re having a good time."

Masks are no longer the rule in most public places, including prisons and schools, per the Las Vegas Sun. The requirement remains for hospitals, nursing homes, and other high-risk settings, Gov. Steve Sisolak said in making the announcement. To avoid a chaotic unmasking during class, the rule remained in effect till the end of the day for students. Sisolak attributed his decision to a drop in COVID cases and hospitalizations, as well as a decline in the amount of virus found by wastewater testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends wearing masks indoors where there's "substantial or high transmission" of the virus, per the AP; on Wednesday, that was everywhere in the US except for 14 rural counties.

The federal mask mandate is still in effect at the Las Vegas airport and aboard its planes. It also applies on the Las Vegas Monorail and buses and in cabs and while ridesharing. The governor said employers and organizations, including schools, can still require masks, as can communities where casinos are located. Public opinion on the mandate is split, Sisolak conceded. US Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, a Republican, said in a statement that the decision was politically motivated; the Democratic governor is up for reelection this year. "My decision is based on science, not politics," Sisolak insisted. (Read more mask mandates stories.)

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