Time to start taking things seriously

Caesars Entertainment is finally doing something it should have done before it reopened its first casino: it has made the waring of protective face masks mandatory for everyone who steps foot inside one of its properties. The company announced the policy change on Wednesday, June 24. It took effect immediately.

Previously, Caesars required employees to wear face masks, but not casino and hotel guests. The only gamblers who had to wear masks were those playing tables games at which plexiglass barriers were not installed.

In the announcement, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio explained:

We promised that Caesars would continue to evaluate the latest recommendations, directives and medical science regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and modify our enhanced health and safety protocols accordingly. As a result, we are immediately requiring everyone in our properties to wear masks, because the scientific evidence strongly suggests that wearing masks and practicing social distancing may be the most important deterrents to spreading COVID-19 from person to person.

Caesars said that it will “take steps” to ensure that everybody wears a mask. Anyone who does not will be told to leave the property.

No geographic exceptions

This measure is in effect for all Caesars Entertainment properties in the United States, not just those in Nevada. This includes the casinos that are currently open in Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina, and California. When Caesars properties in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ontario reopen, they will be subject to the new rule, as well.

Over the weekend, Caesars did try to get visitors to its casinos in Las Vegas to wear masks, even where they were not required at the time. Employees went around surprising random gamblers who were wearing face masks at slot machines with $20 in free play coupons. It looks like that promotion will not run again.

Nevada stole Caesars’ thunder

Just a few hours after Caesars made its announcement, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a directive to require all people to wear masks in all indoor public spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

Exceptions are made for children younger than 10, people whose medical conditions or disabilities make wearing a mask difficult, and people eating or drinking. Businesses must enforce the policy.

“I don’t know why or when protecting our health and our neighbors’ lives became a political, partisan or even philosophical decision. For me it’s none of those,” Sisolak said in a press conference. “It’s a medical necessity, a human obligation, and it’s good for business.”

Sisolak added that he hopes everyone will understand how serious the health situation is and will comply with the order.

“It works. I mean every responsible medical professional will tell you a mask helps reduce the spread of an infectious disease. Anyone who’s denying that is just denying reality,” he said.

While Nevada has not been hit as hard as many states, its COVID-19 stats are trending in a bad direction. The state saw a record of 462 new cases on Tuesday and its six highest daily increases have been set in the last nine days. It is not just because there are more tests being done, either. Positive test rates have increased significantly and confirmed hospitalizations from the virus are at their highest in over a month.

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