How Las Vegas casinos are lifting requirements to wear masks for guests who are fully vaccinated

The CDC has relaxed some of it COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the gambling industry to a great extent. Land-based casinos in Las Vegas have taken the biggest hit. This is mainly due to the enforcement of public health prevention measures that were imposed by the authorities. They include social distancing regulations that were meant to limit physical interactions.

However, these prevention efforts have now started to pay off. The prevalence of the disease has started to reduce as people continue receiving their vaccine shots. Just recently, the CDC updated its COVID-19 prevention guidelines by relaxing some of the rules contained therein. Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, confirmed the updates, which came as good news to the gambling community in Las Vegas.

New mask guidelines at casino venues

Days after the Center for Disease Control revised its coronavirus prevention guidelines, Las Vegas casinos moved swiftly to update their COVID-19 policies. The revised guidelines stated that fully vaccinated people don’t need to mask up, nor do they need to observe social distancing, except in certain crowded settings.

Some of the specified public places include outdoor events like concerts and sporting fixtures. Additionally, hair salons, shopping centers, restaurants, gyms, movie theatres, and museums are also included in the list of places that are exempt from the new rules. It should be remembered that a fully vaccinated individual is one who is two weeks out from their second dose.

That said, the number of incidences of Covid-19 infections have dropped in recent times in Las Vegas as more residents get their vaccinations. On 12th May 2021, for instance, the Nevada Health Response reported 213 new cases, the lowest count since June 2020. Currently, about 2.3 million doses have been administered with 35% of the population now fully vaccinated.

The CDC announcement was followed by that of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The board said it would withdraw its mask rules but will let individual casinos implement them as appropriate. However, each casino is supposed to erect signage with the revised guidelines and to confirm the vaccination status of patrons before entry.

Casinos approved to operate with full occupancy

In Las Vegas, several casinos have obtained clearance from the gaming board to return to full casino floor occupancy. This is after they had shown that at least 80 percent of their staff have been vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. For the other casinos, a restricted capacity limit still applies but will be lifted, hopefully by June.

One of the Las Vegas gambling companies that have been cleared to operate with 100% capacity is Wynn Resorts Ltd. Michael Weaver, the company’s spokesman said that they have attained a vaccination rate of 92% among their casino staff. He attributed this huge success to the $1 million worth of bonus incentives that the company promised its vaccinated workers.

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Wynn first to relax measures

Wynn said that the offer would go on until all workers at its casinos were fully vaccinated. As a result, it has become the first operator in Las Vegas to review its Covid-19 prevention policies. At the moment, the company no longer requires its employees to put on masks at their workplaces. In addition, it is also removing all plexiglass separators from its slot machines and gaming tables.

MGM follow Wynn’s lead

Another gambling operator that has been cleared is MGM Resorts Ltd. The company is also reviewing its policies and looks set to permit all fully vaccinated guests at its Las Vegas casinos to go mask-free. However, it still requires its employees to put on masks and to maintain social-distancing rules off the casino floor. This is specifically at its pools and restaurants.

MGM has said that the Nevada Gaming Board has eased restrictions for its nine casinos as a result of its vaccination rate. The casinos in question include Mandalay Bay, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mirage, Luxor, Park MGM, and Excalibur.

Other casinos on the way to approval

Station Casinos, another Nevada operator, had its gambling venues at Red Rock, Boulder, Sunset, Green Valley Ranch, and Santa Fe approved. Meanwhile, Cosmopolitan, another Las Vegas casino operator, has had 80 percent of its 4,000+ employees vaccinated with at least one dose. William McBeath, the company’s CEO believes that vaccination is the only path to bringing normalcy to operations. The Nevada Gaming Board praised Cosmopolitan for its smart and swift action and asked it to share its successes with the wider industry.

Besides the aforementioned, there are a few other Las Vegas Casino operators that have received the green light to operate fully. They include Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, and Las Vegas Sands. These companies have not only opened employee vaccination centers but have also encouraged the families of the employees to get shots.

Other casinos not yet approved

As mentioned earlier, casinos that are not yet approved will need to operate with restricted capacity limits. These limits are likely to disappear by June 2021, according to Steve Sisolak, the Governor of Nevada. Therefore, all staff and guests at these venues will have to continue to comply with health guidelines, including masking up, to ensure a safe environment for all.

However, the CDC still says that the relaxed mask-wearing rules at casinos are not cast in stone. They are open to revision, especially if an increase in incidences is evident in casino gatherings. This statement is affirmed by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health. He says that if it seems like the virus is bouncing back, or a new contagious variant is detected, then the guidelines will be adjusted.