You’re inside a Las Vegas casino on The Strip. It’s late; you’ve been rolling hard 7’s all night. Perhaps the whiskey is finally beginning to cloud your judgment. All of a sudden, you hear, “ahh, choo!” Your head whips around faster than the gambling warden can say, “seven out, line away.” But this time, due to the casino’s sweeping new policy, the person sneezing is wearing a mask.
In addition to Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resort International is the second operator to implement a new policy that affects all of its properties across the US: masks are required at all times in public spaces unless eating or drinking.
However, they weren’t going to have much of a choice – following their individual announcements was Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mandate, which requires anyone in any public space to wear a mask. Naturally, this was going to include casinos, but props to the two gaming giants for adding an extra layer of precaution by extending the policy outside of Nevada as well.
“I don’t know why, but when did protecting our health and our neighbor’s lives become a political, partisan, or even philosophical decision,” Sisolak said during a press conference. “For me, it’s none of those. It’s a medical necessity, a human obligation. And it’s good for business.”
Nationwide mask policy applies to casinos
Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada have been hit with a wave of new COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. (As of June 29, The New York Times reports 505 deaths and 17,971 confirmed cases in Nevada.)
On the afternoon of June 24, Caesars Entertainment was the first casino operator to implement a universal policy across all its US properties. Like MGM, guests who refuse to wear masks will be asked to leave the property.
Soon after, MGM issued the following statement:
“As part of our work to continually update and evolve our health and safety policies, we are now requiring masks for all guests and visitors inside public spaces. This will apply to all MGM Resorts properties across the US — If a guest is in need of a mask, we will provide one. We hope that our guest will do their part to help the collective efforts to curtail the spread of the virus. Guests who do not wish to comply will be asked to leave the property.”
The new policy went into effect on June 26.
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Combined, Caesars and MGM have casinos in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
Back on The Strip, you toss your last few bucks on the table, grab the dice, and hope the gambling gods are on your side.
So far, Caesars and MGM are the only two operators to implement a policy that affects every casino in their portfolio. It’s still unknown if other operators plan to follow, but as Sisolak told the reno-gazette journal, “We’re not in post-COVID time. We’re right dead-smack in the middle of it.”