Mask use is mandatory at casinos

With COVID-19 cases continuing to escalate in the United States, casino operators appear to be taking at least one safety measure very seriously. Caesars, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts International have all reportedly told their employees to wear protective face masks or find somewhere else to work.

According to multiple Las Vegas news outlets, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio sent a memo to employees last Thursday reminding them that wearing a mask is mandatory. Employees who do not wear a mask could be fired.

Casino staffers have been required to wear masks since Nevada casinos were permitted to reopen on June 4, but it was not until two weeks later that the Nevada Gaming Control Board mandated masks for guests playing at “unshielded” table games. The following week, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued an order that everyone in the state must wear masks in public areas.

In the memo, Rodio wrote:

Our team members are doing an excellent job complying with the policy, and we’ve been impressed that our guests are quickly adjusting to the new rule. We are working to achieve 100% compliance with guests, but we must take strong action if team members violate the rule to always wear their masks at work except when eating or drinking.

“Please take note, the failure to wear your mask at work will be grounds for termination,” he added.

Casinos could be fined for non-compliance

While the optimist in me says that the company’s concern is for the health and safety of patrons and employees, the warning is probably to protect the business, as well. Companies found to be violating the rules can get written up by OSHA and fined $135,000 if violations continue.

Las Vegas Sands is taking a similar stance. Keith Salwoski, a spokesman for The Venetian, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that employees who do not wear masks could face termination.

Same at MGM Resorts, where employees received a memo warning them that anyone who goes to work sick, doesn’t wear a mask, or doesn’t properly social distance “will be subject to progressive discipline.”

Wynn Resorts told the Review-Journal that it hasn’t been an issue for them.

Recent numbers not good

Governor Sisolak was furious on Friday, July 3 when Nevada OSHA reported just a 49 percent face covering compliance rate in the 204 businesses they observed the previous day. He called the findings “disappointing and unacceptable.”

Grocery stores were at 40 percent compliance and casinos were only at 33 percent. The statistics include both employees and customers.

“If these concerning reports on noncompliance continue, I will not hesitate to take swift and decisive actions next week directed at targeted industries or areas that are experiencing concerning COVID-19 trends and non-compliance,” Governor Sisolak said.

At the same time, he thanked businesses that are complying with the recent mask order, saying, “You’re protecting our businesses, our health, our jobs, our economy and your industry.”

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