Nevada has new COVID-19 problems. Positive cases have been rising slightly over the past month, worrying local officials. Even as more people are being vaccinated for the coronavirus, spikes in the number of affected individuals have increased. Clark County, home to Las Vegas, is hoping to get in front of any further spread and has now mandated that face makes must be worn by all employees in the county, regardless of their vaccination status.
Las Vegas Takes a Step Backward
As much as everyone was celebrating when COVID-19 health protocols were finally lifted after more than a year, Las Vegas is seeing flashbacks to the devastation caused by widespread shutdowns in 2020. On July 19, 2,067 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Nevada, almost three times the seven-day average, and Clark County commissioners have been forced to take action. They held an emergency meeting yesterday, ordering the use of face masks by workers in the county, even if they have already received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The commission doesn’t have control over Vegas casinos, which could decide not to follow suit. However, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Resort Association reportedly support the mandate, which could have an impact on how gaming regulators react. The new order takes effect as of midnight tonight and will remain in place until the commission addresses the requirement again on August 17.
Potential Impact on Vegas Casinos
In Clark County, the number of new cases on July 19 was 1,907, about 1,200 more than the seven-day average of 708. Yesterday, there were 889 new cases. The new mandate is only directed at workers, not the general public. However, it will still have an impact on Las Vegas. Some would-be travelers are going to be too concerned about possible contamination and will stay away from the city, as well as the state, although there’s no way to predict the reduction in visitation that might be seen. Some US areas, such as LA County in California, are already recommending that travel to Nevada be put on hold, which will also have an impact on the state’s recovery.
Nevada can’t afford a repeat of last year. Last year saw the state report its lowest gambling revenue in 24 years, and dealing with two back-to-back years of massive drops would be difficult to overcome. Government and health officials are urging everyone to wear a face mask, even though it’s not mandatory, to stop a potential large outbreak, and Clark County commissioners are willing to take action if things continue to decline. According to Commissioner Ross Miller, county officials need to be more proactive in showing the perils of complacency on the part of the general public and adds, “If the public is not abiding by those voluntary recommendations, this will have consequences.”