Starting at midnight on Thursday, July 22, employees at businesses in Clark County must wear a mask when working indoors whether they are vaccinated or not to curtail a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections. The Clark County Commissioners held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to address the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, fewer people seeking vaccinations, and new guidance from the Southern Nevada Health District that suggests everyone should wear a mask indoors.
While the new mandate applies to workers, it does not include customers and tourists. The state dropped a mask mandate in May and suggested that only vaccinated people could remove their masks. Still, new COVID-19 cases in Clark County started to rise again in July, and last Friday, the Southern Nevada Health District recommended that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face masks in crowded indoor places — specifically citing grocery stores, malls, large events, and casinos — to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Gaming properties in Clark County report to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which generally follows county guidance. That state handed over COVID-19 mitigation plans to counties on May 1, when the county hoped that at least 60 percent of the 1.8 million eligible residents in Clark County would receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccinations and relied on the county’s 14-day average test positivity remaining at 5 percent or below and running weekly cases staying below 1,150 cases to keep businesses open at 100 percent capacity.
As of Tuesday, Clark County’s seven-day average case rate rose to 727, which meets numbers seen in early February when businesses operated at 25 percent capacity with social distancing measures in place. Only 38 percent of Clark County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the latest numbers released by the health district on Tuesday.
The state recorded 1,004 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the first time Nevada hit more than 1,000 new cases since January 30. In the meantime, the health district reports new vaccinations trickling to about 4,000 per day, with an additional 160,000 vaccinated residents needed to push Clark County to the 70 percent threshold for herd immunity.
Las Vegas Sands and its Venetian and Palazzo resorts along with Westgate already require staff to wear masks while they are working.
The county commissioners plan to revisit the new mandate on August 17.