98°F
weather icon Clear

Caesars mandates guests wear masks

Updated June 24, 2020 - 3:52 pm

Guests at Caesars Entertainment Corp. properties will be required to wear masks while inside its properties, effective immediately.

Caesars previously required masks only among staff and table game players, and had been offering free slot machine play to select loyalty card customers wearing masks.

That all changed with a company statement released at noon Wednesday.

“We are immediately requiring everyone in our properties to wear masks, because the scientific evidence strongly suggests that wearing masks and practicing social distancing may be the most important deterrents to spreading COVID-19 from person to person,” CEO Tony Rodio said in the release.

Updated policies

The updated policy applies to all employees, vendors, contractors, guests and passersby inside the properties. Those who refuse to wear a face covering will be directed to leave the property.

The only exception is when employees or guests are eating or drinking. A company spokesperson said casino customers who want to drink or smoke are advised to lower their mask, drink or smoke, then lift their mask back into place.

The new policy applies to Caesars’ Nevada hotel-casinos as well as its properties in Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana, as well as tribal properties in Arizona, California and North Carolina. It will also go into effect at properties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and Ontario once they reopen.

As of Wednesday, the company has reopened Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris Las Vegas and The Linq Hotel’s casino in Las Vegas.

The announcement comes just hours before Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s 5 p.m. 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 enhanced face covering policies for the state.

Nevada’s COVID-19 cases have been on the rise since it reopened casinos June 4. On Tuesday, the state saw a record one-day jump of more than 400 new cases. As of Wednesday, there have been about 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 face coverings when in public indoor venues.

Nevada Gaming Control Board spokesman Michael Lawton declined to comment when asked if the control board was considering making masks mandatory inside all Nevada hotel-casinos.

Visitor reaction

Tracy Lawson of Ontario, Canada, said she would feel much safer visiting Las Vegas if all hotel-casinos required masks indoors.

“You’d still have fun. It’s not like they’re asking you to wear a hazmat suit,” she said.

Lawson is planning to visit an MGM Resorts International property on July 26, just a few weeks after her last Las Vegas trip the week of June 6. She estimated only a quarter of the people she saw then were wearing masks.

“It kind of just made me angry. … Obviously the virus is a real thing, and they’re not bothering (to stop it from spreading),” she said. “They want everything open, (but they don’t want to wear a mask). You can’t have it both ways.”

Las Vegas resident and frequent South Point visitor Gene Gilligan said he is “all in favor” of everyone wearing a mask indoors.

I “hope and pray that all casinos follow Caesars’ example,” he said. “My wife and I have been disappointed to see the lack of masks among slot players as well as at stores in our area.”

Other visitors said they find the new policy unnecessary.

Cliff Johnson of Glendale, Arizona, said he’s not happy about the new mask requirement. He believes social distancing and proper hygiene is enough.

“A mask still makes it hard to breathe, and cigarette smoke still gets in,” he said. “I hope that other casinos keep mask wearing optional, but I imagine they will get public pressure (to require them).”

Chris Frusci of Dallas said some customers may not like the new rule, but he doesn’t think mask policies will affect visitation.

“People go to casinos and gamble because they enjoy risk. … Gamblers won’t let this law stop them,” he said. “I gamble often and that wouldn’t stop me, although I do feel like people should have a choice (on wearing masks).”

He added that he didn’t see many masks during his stay in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas two weeks ago and said it was “nice to escape reality and feel like there’s no pandemic.”

More action to come?

A Wednesday statement from Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said Caesars’ new mask policy is “a victory for workers” and “a good step towards protecting workers and the hospitality industry in Nevada.” The union has been advocating for stricter mask rules among patrons and guests since May.

On Monday, the union hosted a videoconference to discuss casinos’ policies. Members — including Diana Thomas, a guest-room attendant at the Flamingo — said they would feel safer at work if guests and patrons were required to wear masks.

Last week, at least nine Strip casino workers tested positive for COVID-19.

“Now, all other Nevada casinos must adopt the same mandatory mask policy and Governor Sisolak should mandate that they do so as well,” the Wednesday statement said.

The union is demanding a handful of other health policies in casinos, including daily cleaning of all guest rooms, as well as mandatory testing of all employees for COVID-19 before returning to work, and regular testing thereafter.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Is Nevada the ‘gold standard’ for casino coronavirus response? - Video
Whenever experts begin comparing gaming jurisdictions, you’re bound to hear the phrase “gold standard” dropped in the conversation. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Resorts World Las Vegas activates 100,000-square-foot LED screen - VIDEO
Resorts World Las Vegas activated its 100,000-square-foot LED screen on its west tower on Independence Day, showing a digital fireworks display. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Station Casinos president dies in watercraft accident - VIDEO
Richard Haskins, president of Red Rock Resorts Inc. and Station Casinos, died Saturday in a watercraft accident in Michigan, according to a statement released by the company. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hockey arena opponents erred in ballot initiative - Video
Opponents of a minor league hockey arena in Henderson collected enough verified signatures to put the disputed project on the November ballot, but then a problem emerged: A procedural error on the petition.
Layoffs at 'The Drew' force staff to sue owner
Rj Business reporter Eli Segall talks about the lawsuit and the future of the unfinished hotel and casino.
Vegas tourists react to mask mandate - VIDEO
Governor Steve Sisolak announced on Wednesday a mandate to wear face masks starting Friday. Down on the Las Vegas Strip tourists reacted on camera to the news. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA #VegasSmart social media campaign brings awareness to wearing a mask - Video
Now that Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced requirements to wear masks in public settings in the state, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will attempt to deliver the message to prospective visitors via their #VegasSmart social media campaign. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's unemployment crisis - Video
Thousands of jobless workers turned to the state for payments after the COVID-19 shutdown in March. DETR has struggled to handle record claims. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars mandates guests to wear masks
Guests at Caesars Entertainment Corp. properties will be required to wear masks while inside its properties, effective immediately.
MGM Grand and Aria are reopening pool clubs - Video
MGM Grand’s Wet Republic Ultra Pool and Aria’s Liquid Pool Lounge plan to open July 2, according to a Wednesday statement from MGM Resorts International and Hakkasan Group. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Survey shows big reluctance to travel with coronavirus ablaze - VIDEO
Would-be travelers are becoming more pessimistic in their outlook about their safety when they travel. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown's Circa resort will begin taking room reservations Wednesday - Video
Circa developer Derek Stevens confirmed that when the property opens on Oct. 28, persons under the age of 21 won’t be allowed. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas’ Circa resort will begin taking room reservations - Video
Downtown Las Vegas’ Circa resort will begin taking room reservations on Wednesday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Culinary union expresses concerns about returning to work - Video
The Culinary union expresses its concerns about returning to work and the safety precautions that casinos are taking to ensure the safety of staff.
Bellagio poker room reopens with approval to host six-handed games - Video
The installation of plexiglass dividers between the players gave the Bellagio an edge over the other poker rooms open in Las Vegas. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Westgate reopens after coronavirus shutdown - Video
Jay Kornegay, vice president of Westgate Sportsbook, talks about the reopening of the casino on Thursday, June 18. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Final beam of Circa resort tower moved into place - Video
A crane whisked the final beam in the construction of downtown Las Vegas’ Circa resort property into place Friday morning, June 19, and crews paused momentarily, then continued working to ensure the casino's Oct. 28 opening. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paris Las Vegas reopens - Video
The Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino reopened its doors on June 18 after the statewide shutdown in response to COVID-19. (Mackenzie Behm/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masks required at casino table games in Nevada - Video
The state Gaming Control Board has ordered Nevada casinos to require players and spectators of most casino table and card games to wear protective face coverings.
Downtown Las Vegas’ Circa to open in October - Video
Circa resort-casino’s first five floors are set to open Oct. 28, according to CEO and developer Derek Stevens. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas movie theaters set July reopening date - Video
Las Vegas movie theater reopenings will start Regal, the valley’s largest exhibitor, announced Tuesday that it will reopen its theaters starting July 10, albeit in a modified fashion. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Contractors say they’re owed $36M for work done at Drew Las Vegas - Video
Three months after coronavirus turmoil shut off construction of the Drew Las Vegas, contractors have levied claims for more than $36 million in unpaid bills. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Contractors say they’re owed $36M for work done at Drew Las Vegas
Three months after coronavirus turmoil shut off construction of the Drew Las Vegas, contractors have levied claims for more than $36 million in unpaid bills. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Many Las Vegas guests ignoring COVID-19 protocols
Casinos are putting safety first but many Las Vegas guests are not socially distancing.
As Las Vegas casinos reopen, not every employee is convinced it's safe to go back.
As Las Vegas casinos reopen, some employees aren't convinced it's safe to go back.
1.54M Americans filed for unemployment last week - Video
The U.S. Labor Department released the unemployment numbers on Thursday, June 11. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1.54 Million Americans Filed for Unemployment Last Week
1.54 Million Americans Filed for Unemployment Last Week. The U.S. Labor Department released the unemployment numbers on Thursday. The number of jobless claims was just below economists' predictions of 1.55 million claims. 1.897 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance the previous week. More than 44 million Americans have filed jobless claims in the past three months. Continuing claims nearly topped 21 million. The numbers follow the May jobs report, which revealed that more than two million jobs were added to the U.S. economy in May. Initial jobless claims continued the gradual downward trend. But it is still hard to square the claims figures with the much more upbeat news on the labor market from May’s Employment Report, Capital Economics, via Yahoo Finance
Visitors return to Las Vegas
Guests returned to Las Vegas casinos throughout the weekend. Casinos reopened on Thursday after being closed for 78 days because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Sisolak tours casino property after reopening - Video
Gov. Steve Sisolak and Sandra Morgan, chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, participated in a tour of the Wynn Las Vegas hotel-casino where they share their first thoughts on casinos reopening. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Treasure Island reboots operations after coronavirus shutdown - Video
When casinos shut down, not only were tourists unseen on the Las Vegas Strip, but jobs were temporarily lost. Treasure Island took the months off to remodel and fix the property, adjusting the casino for COVID-19 norms. Now that they’re open again, management is slowly hiring back staff as guests return. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Gaming boards back Eldorado-Caesars deal

The state Gaming Control Board on Wednesday unanimously backed Reno-based Eldorado Resorts Inc.’s $17.3 billion bid to acquire Caesars Entertainment Corp. and build the world’s largest casino operation.