Health officials from popular tourist destinations like Los Angeles and Las Vegas are asking more people to cover up indoors.
The Southern Nevada Health District now recommends that people wear masks in crowded indoor public places — including Las Vegas casinos — regardless of vaccination status, according to the Friday statement.
This announcement comes a day after Los Angeles County announced that it would do so Reinstate the policy of internal disguise Due to the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases. More counties in California followed up with mask recommendations on Friday.
The mask guidelines are intended to help suppress the spread of COVID and the highly contagious delta variant, which has caused an increase in daily cases in some areas across the United States.
Why are changing recommendations hidden?
The Southern Nevada Health District said it is updating its guidance Friday, because “proper use of masks has been shown to be effective in helping prevent people from contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus.”
Eight other California regions — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and the city of Berkeley — recommended Friday that both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people wear masks in public.
The guidance is a precaution for those who have been fully vaccinated and is meant to “ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those places,” according to the joint statement.
The number of daily COVID cases has increased in both Nevada and California in recent weeks.
Daily COVID cases in southern Nevada – where the delta variant is the dominant strain – are back to levels not seen since February. More than half of the state’s eligible population Not fully vaccinated.
Clark County — home to the Las Vegas strip — continues to be responsible for the bulk of the state’s COVID-19 cases as well as the highest infection rate. Nearly 78% of COVID-19 cases in Nevada have occurred there.
The Southern Nevada Health Department is trying to combat the spread of the highly contagious delta species, says Brian Lapus, an epidemiologist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
“Our numbers are headed in the wrong direction,” Labus said. “Our recommendations have to change to match what the virus is doing.”
COVID-19 and travel:Delta shape spreads. Should travelers be concerned?
What does this mean for travelers?
Nevada health officials are pushing for more masks to be worn, but visitors may not heed their advice.
“We don’t see a lot of people wearing masks in public (in Las Vegas), unfortunately,” Labus said. “People have kind of rejected these guidelines and don’t wear masks, and I don’t know how much that recommendation would really change that.”
The Nevada Gaming Control Board will have the authority to re-enforce mask mandates at Las Vegas casinos, but no changes have been made as of Friday. The board declined to comment.
Labus said health officials will need to consider the political and economic consequences before reimposing COVID restrictions or masking mandates.
Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian on the Strip, said it will require vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees to wear face masks while working in public indoor spaces, but the resort does not require masks among guests.
A spokesman for MGM Resorts International, which operates Bellagio and other resorts in the Gaza Strip, was “closely monitoring the situation” but did not change its masking policy on Friday. MGM and Sands plan to post signs at public entrances sharing the new concealment recommendation.
Dr. Hana Hakim, associate member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude, said it was not clear if more face masking policies would be implemented. It will depend on vaccination rates and more data on the prevalence penetrating infections, or cases of COVID in those who have been fully vaccinated, she said.
“Understanding the effect of the delta variable on the efficacy of the vaccine will be essential in the decision to implement re-masking,” Al-Hakim said by email. “For now, the crucial message will be ‘vaccinate’.”
Casino consultant Debbie Naughton said she doesn’t expect to hold back the recommendation pent-up travel request Las Vegas has benefited in recent months.
“Right now, travel to Las Vegas is high,” she said. “I think our guests are relieved. … I don’t know if this will have much of an impact.”
Contributing: Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette-Journal.