Guests of Caesars Entertainment Corp. properties must wear masks within their properties, effective immediately. The only exception is when employees or guests are eating or drinking, according to a press release on Wednesday.
The updated policy applies to all employees, suppliers, contractors, guests, and bystanders within properties. Those who refuse to cover their faces will be forced to leave the property.
Caesars previously required only staff to wear masks.
“We immediately demand that everyone on our properties wear masks, because scientific evidence strongly suggests that wearing masks and practicing social distancing may be the most important deterrent to spreading COVID-19 from person to person,” CEO Tony Rodio said in the release. .
The policy applies to Caesars’ nine Las Vegas hotel-casinos, as well as their properties in Arizona, California and North Carolina. It will also take effect on properties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and Ontario once they reopen.
The announcement comes just hours before Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s 5 pm update on Nevada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the governor said he had asked his team of COVID-19 medical advisers to review the improved facial coverage policies for the state.
Nevada’s COVID-19 cases have been on the rise since the casinos reopened on June 4. On Tuesday, the state saw a record jump in one day of more than 400 new cases. As of Wednesday, there have been around 14,000 cases of the virus in Nevada and 492 deaths.
Policies in other states, including California and Washington, have recently been updated to require people to wear face covers when they are in closed public places.
Nevada Gaming Control Board spokesman Michael Lawton declined to comment when asked if the control board was considering making mandatory masks inside all Nevada hotel-casinos.
A Wednesday statement from Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said Caesars’ new mask policy is “a victory for workers” and “a good step toward protecting workers and the hotel industry in Nevada.” The union has been advocating stricter mask rules between customers and guests since May.
On Monday, the union hosted a video conference to discuss casino policies. The members, including Diana Thomas, a room assistant at the Caesars’ Flamingo hotel-casino, said they would feel safer at work if guests and customers were to wear masks.
“Now all other Nevada casinos must adopt the same mandatory mask policy, and Governor Sisolak must order that they do as well,” the Wednesday statement said.
The union requires a handful of other casino health policies, including daily cleaning of all rooms, as well as mandatory COVID-19 testing of all employees before returning to work, and periodic testing thereafter. .
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Contact Bailey Schulz at [email protected] or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.