Face Masks Required In Casinos As COVID-19 Cases Spike

Face Masks Required In Casinos As COVID-19 Cases Spike
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More states — including Nevada, home to more casinos than any state — are requiring face masks be worn in public and in casinos to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

And major gaming companies like Caesars and MGM are following suit.

RELATED: Learn more about Nevada casinos and gaming

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered that face masks or coverings must be worn in public — including casinos — as the state tries to slow the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The order, which was announced Wednesday, takes effect Friday.

Nevada casinos began reopening June 4 after being closed since mid-March. About 20 states and the District of Columbia have mandatory face mask orders, according to CNN. Some states have implemented travel quarantines.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, whose state has also seen an increase in coronavirus cases, issued an executive order Wednesday requiring people to wear face coverings in public, according to the Associated Press. His order also mandates face coverings for employees of retail businesses.

Also on Wednesday, Caesars Entertainment required masks be worn at all times inside its casinos, except when eating or drinking, according to a news release. The order went into effect the same day.

Caesars properties have reopened in Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada and Indiana, as have the company's tribal properties in Arizona, California and North Carolina. The mask requirement will also apply to additional Caesars properties as they reopen in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois, the release said.

MGM Resorts International also announced Wednesday that it will require all guests to wear face masks inside their U.S. casinos, effective Friday, according to its website.

The company’s announcement comes as some of its biggest properties — MGM National Harbor outside of Washington, D.C., and The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey — are preparing to reopen. National Harbor plans to reopen June 29 and The Borgata on July 6.

CHECK OUT: See which New Jersey casinos are open

Cases Rising, Prompting Mask Requirement

The U.S. saw an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday — 34,700, according to Johns Hopkins University tracking data. Many states reported some of their highest totals since the pandemic started, including Nevada.

“For Nevada to stay safe and to stay open, we must make face coverings a routine part of our daily lives," Sisolak said Wednesday.

Wynn Resorts applauded the move by Sisolak, saying in a statement that “mandatory face coverings have had no impact on the ability of our employees to deliver great guest experiences. Similarly, we believe face coverings will not diminish the unique experiences only Las Vegas can offer visitors.”

Caesars said the new directive for its casinos came after evaluating the latest recommendations from health experts.

“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,” Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said in a news release.

With cases rising, MGM said the new safety measure was needed. It has previously only required employees to wear masks.

"It is clear that the coronavirus still presents a significant public health threat, and masks have proven to be one of the best ways to curtail the spread," MGM said in a statement. "We want guests and employees to feel comfortable that we are putting their health and safety first."

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