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Mandatory masks embraced by most on Strip, around Las Vegas — blog

Updated June 26, 2020 - 11:17 pm

Monitoring compliance with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive requiring people to wear masks in all public spaces on Friday, the first day it is in force.

Sisolak announced the face-covering edict on Wednesday as COVID-19 cases in the state continue to spike. A record high of 497 cases was recorded statewide on Thursday.

Early Friday morning, it was apparent that not everyone got the message or intended to abide by the governor’s mandate. But most did.

Here are the details of the rules put into place by the state.

When not inside…

4:30 p.m.

Stripgoers walking the boulevard outside Paris, Bellagio and Miracle Mile Shops wore masks less consistently than those inside the casinos.

Passersby meandered down the sidewalk in the sweltering triple-digit heat, while video display boards cycled through messages from Caesars Entertainment acknowledging Pride Month and Black Lives Matter and a third showing Wayne Newton in a facemask with the words: “Mr. Las Vegas says ‘Please wear a mask.’”

— Mike Shoro

Masked inside Cosmopolitan

4:15 p.m.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has a sign telling visitors masks are required at the entrance from the parking garage. The sign holds a hand sanitizer canister and a disinfectant towel dispenser

As was the case at Paris, nearly all the patrons on the casino floor were wearing masks over their faces. Most of the few who weren’t had them around their necks or dangling from an ear as they sipped a beer or a sparkling libation.

Employees at the entrances to the resort stood guard behind podiums and plexiglass shields. They eyed patrons as they walked through the glass doors. One employee said they were handing out masks to those without them.

Las Vegas resident Mondi Tucker said she saw at least one casino employee handing out masks to maskless patrons.

Tucker, 22, was wearing one herself. She knew of the mandate, but she said she would’ve worn one regardless of a mandate.

“COVID is spreading rapidly,” she said.

Tucker accompanied her mom, Tonya Brown, inside of the casino. Brown, a 43-year-old St. Louis, Missouri, resident, was visiting friends and family in town.

Without the mandate, she said, she would’ve worn a mask “some of the time,” mostly in crowds or around other people.

— Mike Shoro

If they don’t cover nose and mouth, they don’t help

4 p.m.

All but three customers out of two dozen at the Seven Hills U.S. Post Office off Saint Rose Parkway in Henderson were sporting masks, though one woman waited until she was standing in line to pull it up over her face. Two postal workers serving customers had masks on but one covered only his neck and chin and the other covered only his mouth. When asked whether customers were generally complying with the mandate, another employee said yes, but there was nothing they could do if they didn’t. Several customers with masks under their noses could have used a brush-up on how droplets from sneezes can travel on air drafts and linger in the air long after they are gone.

— Laura Schwed

Masked inside Paris

3:45 p.m.

At Paris Las Vegas a man was interrupted Friday afternoon by a staffer offering him a mask – because he wasn’t wearing one.

With mask dispensers stationed at least at several entrances, and staffers giving masks to those entering the hotel-casino maskless, most inside the resort and casino donned a face covering.

It wasn’t packed inside, but those who were there were eating, drinking and gambling as usual.

— Mike Shoro

Everyone was masked

3:15 p.m.

At CVS at Bicentennial in Anthem Highlands in Henderson, all of about a dozen customers and employees were wearing masks. A sign on the pharmacy counter notified customers that masks are required, referred people to a CDC website and appealed to their better natures with this message: “When you wear a mask … you promote your own safety and that of our colleagues and other customers.”

— Laura Schwed

3 p.m.

Minimizing the risk

A few miles up the road at the Orleans Casino, gamblers weren’t gambling on their health, with seemingly everyone in the casino wearing a mask.

Standing outside the hotel, waiting in the rideshare area, Las Vegas local Dale Carcon said he agreed with the face mask requirement.

“I was wearing it before the mandate,” he said, his face covering resting beneath mirrored shades.

Inside, patrons only seemed to doff their masks when taking a tug from a cigarette or a bottle of beer.

One especially diligent lady played a Kitty Glitter slot machine with an open bottle of hand sanitizer in her left hand, cleansing her right hand after almost every time she hit the button to spin the reels.

Even when playing a game of chance, why take a chance, you know?

Mostly masked

3 p.m.

Most of the customers at stores located along Centennial Center Boulevard, just off of Ann Road in the Northwest, wore masks, with non-wearers noticeable by their scarcity.

Based on the difficulty some seemed to have putting the masks on in their cars or while walking in from the parking lot, it likely was many customers’ first mask-wearing experience.

And, based on the speed with which they removed their masks after leaving stores — like a parochial school kid ripping off his itchy, first-day-of-school pants the moment he gets home — they likely didn’t enjoy the experience.

— John Przybys

Shopper thinks mask rule is ‘wonderful’

2:45 p.m.

The Walmart at 4505 W. Charleston Blvd. was busy, and almost everyone inside had a mask, even if they weren’t covering everyone’s noses.

A large blue sign outside the store announced that everyone had to wear face coverings. In comparison, the Lowe’s home improvement store next door had a smaller-sized piece of paper taped to the side of its entrance.

The Lowe’s was less crowded, but it appeared that the majority of people inside were wearing their masks correctly, as signs directed them to stay 6 feet apart.

A man selling patterned cloth masks in the back of the Lowe’s parking lot had a steady stream of cars parking next to him at about 2:30 p.m.

“I do feel like there’s an influx of more people today,” said the man, who declined to give his name.

After shopping at Walmart on Friday, Lavette Sawyer said she was happy that the governor mandated that everyone wear masks. She said she won’t be able to get regular shifts at her job at the Bellagio until people stop getting sick and tourism picks back up.

“If it’s going to keep down this pandemic that we have, I think it’s wonderful,” she said about the mask rule.

— Katelyn Newberg

Masks available upon request at The Strat

2:30 p.m.

At The Strat, masks are provided upon request, rather than being openly available as they are in some other hotels.

This didn’t appear to affect the number of people in masks, however, which was comparable to other casinos. In that same vein, many people also were wearing their masks incorrectly.

Some people playing table games took their masks down to speak to the dealer, and others kept their masks beneath their noses.

More people sitting at the bar were wearing their masks correctly than others seen today, with only a few wearing theirs below their chin to take a drink or talk to their neighbor.

— Amanda Bradford

No mask, no entry at Downtown Container Park

2:18 p.m.

Crowds were thin in the early afternoon in downtown Las Vegas as the temperature climbed past 100 degrees. Despite the heat, most walking around in the area wore masks.

An employee wearing a bright yellow mask stood near the entrance to Downtown Container Park, greeting guests and checking for facial coverings. Those without a mask would not be allowed to enter, the employee said.

At a nearby table under some shade, Katherine Johnson pulled her pink cotton mask down from her nose and placed it below her chin. Tilting her head to the side, the woman licked her ice cream cone.

“I mean it sucks wearing this because it’s so hot,” she said of her mask, “but it’s way better than being stuck at home again. I think back to how bad the shutdown was for me, and I would take wearing this mask any day.”

Johnson bit into the ice cream cone, sending a goop of melting ice cream dripping down her hand.

Laughing, she said, “Now the hard part is eating this without getting it all over the mask.”

— Rio Lacanlale

‘To protect everybody’

2 p.m.

No face mask, no Beijing beef.

Or Nike Air Force 1s, for that matter.

The Panda Express fast food chain and Finish Line shoe store were but two of the merchants at the Town Square shopping center that posted signs on their store windows notifying patrons that no one would be let in without a face covering on Friday following governor Steve Sisolak’s mandate that face coverings must now be worn in public.

At the H&M clothing store, a security guard just inside the front door instructed a couple to put on said protective wear if they wanted to enter, which they obliged.

“It’s weird, right?” the security guard said.

“Stange as (expletive),” the woman replied.

Sitting on a bench outside the It’s Sugar candy store, Paulette Bryden expressed support for the mandate.

“I think it’s fine to wear face masks,” she said. Though she wasn’t wearing a face mask at the time, she said she normally does. “I know it’s bothersome when you’re out in the heat and stuff like that, but it’s basic to protect everybody. Me being an older person, I would appreciate that. I don’t see anything wrong in that at all. Life has changed completely anyway, you know?”

At the Wassa Wear boutique nearby, sparkly handmade face masks and those with lush floral designs were prominently displayed in the front of the store, created by proprietor Wassa Coulibaly, who says she’s already seen an increase in patrons wearing face masks after the aforementioned mandate.

“Today I noticed it more,” she said. “People are listening. People are buying more masks, too, because now it’s a must.”

She was also quick to note that just because you have to wear a face mask doesn’t mean you have to compromise any style while doing so — hence, her fashion-conscious creations.

“You still want to be healthy and safe,” she said. “But let’s not get out of fashion.”

— Jason Bracelin

Mostly compliant at Arizona Charlie’s

2 p.m.

The slots at the Arizona Charlie’s near Decatur and Charleston boulevards were as full as they could be with social distancing measures just before 2 p.m. Friday. The majority of people appeared to be complying with the mandate.

Large signs at the casinos entrances announced that masks were now mandatory and that the property was providing them to guests if requested.

While most people in the casino wore masks, some were pulled off of noses or dangling from ears as players sat at slot machines. Others took their masks off in order to smoke a cigarette.

— Katelyn Newberg

Few seen without masks at Wynn Las Vegas

1:45 p.m.

As soon as visitors enter Wynn Las Vegas from the parking garage or any other entrance, they are greeted with a thermal camera taking their temperatures and are required to enter the hotel with a mask on their faces.

Masks are provided at each entrance. This appeared to be a successful strategy, as only two or three people were seen without a mask on — apart from those at restaurants and bars.

Despite having masks, some people continued to wear them incorrectly as they sat as slot machines or played table games.

In many of the hotel’s shops, hand sanitizer is offered at the door, and all patrons seen were wearing masks inside.

— Amanda Bradford

Minding the mandate at Walmart

1:30 p.m.

Most shoppers at Walmart in Centennial Hills walked the aisles duly masked, even if a few — the ones whose masks covered the mouth but hung lamely underneath their noses — apparently missed school the day they covered the respiratory system in science class.

A few unmasked kids looked as though they were pushing the upper limit of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s age exemption. But most shoppers played by the rules.

— John Przybys

Most pedestrians don masks on Fremont Street

1:25 p.m.

Illuminated signs that read “MUST WEAR MASK” lined Fremont Street. Most pedestrians kept their faces and mouths covered as they shuffled under the canopy and wandered into the casinos and souvenir shops. Some lined the outdoor bars, pulling masks down to sip from tall cups of beer, while others pushed masks aside to smoke or vape. Of the few street artists working, all wore masks.

A sign at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas reminds guests that masks are require ...
A sign at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas reminds guests that masks are required. (David Ferrara/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

At the Casino Center Boulevard intersection, a man and woman slid their masks down to kiss while they waited for the light to change. Inside the casinos, tourists and gamblers were masked up at the tables and slot machines, unless they had drinks or lit cigarettes in hand. Inside casinos such as Golden Nugget and Binion’s, the dealers all wore masks. Some even had small bottles of hand sanitizer clipped to their uniforms.

Dealers and gamblers along Golden Nugget’s pool wore masks, but only a few people near the water had their faces covered. A block away, at the corner of Casino Center Boulevard and Bridger Avenue, just outside the Clark County Detention Center, a man holding a paper bag stood wearing orange flip flops, white socks, an ankle monitor, khaki shorts, a blue T-shirt and a black mask. He glanced up as a woman zipped past him on a rented bicycle with a mask tucked under her chin.

— David Ferrara

Masks, please

1:15 p.m.

The afternoon heat didn’t keep shoppers away from the Target on W. Flamingo Boulevard, just past the 215 Beltway.

And as visitors trickled in and out of the store almost everyone could be seen wearing a mask except for Las Vegan Whitney Short.

Short was aware of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive for Nevadans to wear face masks in public, but was less than enthused.

“I’m not a fan,” she said, adding that she was surprised about the mandate and didn’t feel it should be a requirement.

But Deborah Green, who had just finished loading her shopping bags into her car, was very excited about the change. She also felt the state reopened too early, as cases start to spike.

“I was in Walmart yesterday and there was a man in front of me that did not have one on and a man behind me that did not have one on,” Green said. “I just stepped out of line and went to a line where somebody had a mask on.”

Green said she has multiple masks at home and in her car.

“I put it on because I don’t want to infect you,” she said. “You put it on because you don’t want to infect me.”

— Subrina Hudson

A nudge, then grudging compliance

1 p.m.

Sometimes, all it takes is a gentle reminder.

While Aliante security guards were nudging gamblers to pull up their masks if they weren’t smoking or drinking, a gray-haired man with a cane in one hand and a can of soda and a disposable mask in the other stood in line at the cashier cage.

Once he approached, he laid his mask on the counter while his transaction was conducted. At the end of the exchange, the cashier told him he needed to wear that mask, not just carry it around.

“I know, I know,” he muttered, as though they’d been married for years as he walked away, mask in hand.

Once he sat down at a nearby video poker machine, though, that mask went on and stayed there, except when he reached for a sip from that soda.

At the other end of the spectrum, a server at the Rocco’s New York Pizza down the street was telling customers to feel free to remove their masks once they sat down. He joked about the silliness of the rule that requires masks in some parts of the restaurant but not others. Upon closer inspection, his mask hung loose, exposing his nose and a portion of his mouth as he spoke.

At the Smith’s in the same shopping center, two employees lingered outside, leaning on the shopping carts at the return and feeding them back inside. Neither was wearing a mask, nor seemed to have one handy.

— Christopher Lawrence

Mostly masked up at Target in Henderson

12:34 p.m.

The Target at the intersection of Green Valley and Horizon Ridge parkways in Henderson was full of people Friday afternoon, mostly masked up.

Although there was no signage about the mask requirement in the entrance, employees could be heard on the overhead speaker system alerting customers to the newly implemented requirement and reminding them of social distancing guidelines.

One of the only shoppers not wearing a mask stood in the self-checkout line — waiting to buy a three-pack of cloth masks.

Mick Akers

Almost everyone masked at MGM Grand

12:30 p.m.

At the MGM Grand, significantly more people were in line to check in than at New York-New York. Gloves and masks were made available at hand washing stations throughout the casino.

Almost everyone in the hotel and casino areas were wearing masks, though some were worn around people’s chins while they took a drink or smoked a cigarette. A few people were seen slipping a straw up their mask to avoid taking their masks off while they drank.

In the sports betting area of the casino, chairs were spaced apart to allow for social distancing. Everyone had a mask, but some were wearing them incorrectly.

— Amanda Bradford

Most comply, but some ‘didn’t get the memo’

Noon

At Albertsons at West Charleston Boulevard and Desert Foothills Drive, everyone encountered except for two men were wearing masks. Management was not stopping people without masks from entering, and an employee said most people were complying, but since this was the first day after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mandate requiring masks in public, there may be some who “didn’t get the memo.”

A sign posted at Albertsons at W. Charleston Blvd. and Desert Foothills Dr. reminded shoppers t ...
A sign posted at Albertsons at W. Charleston Blvd. and Desert Foothills Dr. reminded shoppers to wear masks. (Mark Antonuccio)

While signs were posted at Albertsons, they were only on 8.5 x 11 inch paper, which was not particularly noticeable in a store that had lots of competing signage.

When asked if the store provides masks for those without them, the employee said the customers are responsible for their own masks.

— Mark Antonuccio

11:57 a.m.

Few unmasked patrons at Southern Highlands Parkway

“There’s always one that’s gotta be stubborn,” said a pharmacy associate at Smith’s Food & Drug at Cactus Avenue and Southern Highlands Parkway, when asked whether more customers were wearing masks today. He said he’d only seen one person Friday morning come into the pharmacy without a mask. “We’re just trying to help each other out here,” he added.

A sign in front of the store advised of Nevada’s new policy: “Please do not enter without a face mask … we require that all associates and customers wear a face mask in our store.” And for the first time in many visits to this store over the past few months, a majority of customers were masked. Just two customers were spotted who were not following the mandate out of about 35 customers in the store.

At Subway in the same plaza, two customers of the eight waiting for lunch were without masks. At a PetCo in a neighboring plaza, most associates and customers wore face coverings. The exceptions: The two people in the obedience class area who were not only were unmasked, but also at times were less than six feet from each other.

— Ellen Fiore

Playing it safe at Green Valley Ranch

11:54 a.m.

A very populated casino floor at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson saw nearly every player wearing a face covering.

Players old and young are greeted at all entrances with large signs asking them to play it safe and face coverings are required for all guests. After players pass those signs, their temperature is taken before being allowed entry.

An employee operating one of the temperature stations answered a guest’s questions regarding face coverings as she was waived through.

Most gamblers had their face covering on correctly, covering both mouth and nose. Those who didn’t were usually sipping their drink or taking a puff from a cigar or cigarette.

Some guests doubled-down on safety and wore both a mask and face shield while playing their favorite slot machines.

Mick Akers

Most people wear masks at New York-New York

11:30 a.m.

At New York-New York, the casino was busy with most people wearing masks, though some incorrectly.

Some people had their masks pulled down below their chins or hanging from an ear while they sat at slot machines or walked around the casino. Hotel staff were taking guests’ temperatures as they checked in, and masks and gloves were provided out of the hotel’s hand washing stations.

All patrons at the casino’s table games had masks covering at least their mouths, but some people left their noses sticking out the top of their masks while they played.

— Amanda Bradford

Most wearing masks at Regional Justice Center

11:25 a.m.

Masked marshals guarded the entrance to the Regional Justice Center, where a mask order has been in effect since May 21. Before anyone enters the building, they are directed to read a sign that asks “Feeling sick?” and a series of other questions regarding travel and COVID-19. Those who are not wearing a mask are offered one and instructed to put it on.

Inside, where foot traffic was slow Friday, most people could be seen wearing masks, though a few people had pulled masks aside to make phone calls or sip a beverage. In the main lobby, near an elevator bank, a placard read “NOTICE PLEASE WEAR A FACE MASK THANK YOU.”

A sign at Anthony's in downtown Las Vegas reminds customers that face masks are required to ent ...
A sign at Anthony's in downtown Las Vegas reminds customers that face masks are required to enter. (David Ferrara/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A printed email from Chief District Judge Linda Bell, dated May 7, was posted on the door of courtroom 11A, where criminal cases were being heard. Bell required anyone entering a courtroom to wear a mask, though for weeks the order was not strictly enforced.

Inside the courtroom, District Judge Michael Villani and his staff wore masks.

Five lawyers in the gallery wore masks, although one had his tucked under his chin. Another held a mask in his hand before a marshal asked him to put it on. Defense attorneys and prosecutors wore masks as they argued cases and could clearly be heard from the gallery. Many attorneys appeared alone by videoconference.

Defendants in custody also appeared via video from the Clark County Detention Center, each wearing surgical masks.

— David Ferrara

Not many masks at Lowe’s in Centennial

10:35 a.m.

Many people at Lowe’s in Centennial were not wearing masks, including three employees that I saw. An employee told me that store cannot enforce customers not wearing masks because it’s not a law, only a mandate. He said he would look into why other employees were not wearing masks. He didn’t seem serious about that.

— Erik Verduzco

Busy, about 75% masked at South Point

8:15 a.m.

A quick stroll into South Point Hotel & Casino shows about 75 percent of people wearing masks.

A masked patron is loading his SUV with one bag. All attendants are fully masked. Of three people strolling out to the front parking lot, the man is masked the women are not.

With busy action at a craps table in the middle of the row of table games, about six gamblers and four staffers are all masked or have face shields.

Four men at two tables at the coffee shop are having coffee, no masks. Likely the protection is off for eating, which is allowed, but there are no signs of masks handy.

Two women on opposite sides of a circle of slot machines has one smoker with no mask and the other fully masked.

— Marvin Clemons

Most masked at Terrible’s

8:03 a.m.

A quick stop for a soda at a Terrible Herbst Chevron at Cactus Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South shows both clerks fully masked. The man at the register says most customers have been following the mandate.

As I pay and turn to leave, a gas customer comes in to pay, sans mask. Another man sitting on a wall on the side of the store has no mask.

— Marvin Clemons

Hanging below chin, off ear

6:40 a.m.

A second Friday stop at a 24-hour Walgreens on the corner of Fremont and 4th streets shows clerks with masks on chins. Also, a customer on a heated phone call with mask hanging off ear.

— K.M. Cannon

7-11 clerk warns customers

6:25 a.m.

I’m on mask patrol this morning. My first stop is 7-11 at Las Vegas Boulevard at Stewart. The clerk on her smoke break outside said, “You have to wear a mask.” to the guy in front of me. He promptly put one on.

A clerk on a smoke break at a 7-Eleven store at Las Vegas Boulevard and Stewart Avenue tells an ...
A clerk on a smoke break at a 7-Eleven store at Las Vegas Boulevard and Stewart Avenue tells an entering customer that he must wear a mask on Friday, June 26, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

— K.M. Cannon

Most wearing, but many below the chin

2:15 a.m.

At Henderson’s Green Valley Ranch Resort, masks were always available to those who asked for them. Now after getting their temperature taken, visitors were strongly encouraged by staff to take a mask.

On the casino floor at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Friday, June 26, 2020. (Sabrina Schnur/Las Ve ...
On the casino floor at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Friday, June 26, 2020. (Sabrina Schnur/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Almost everyone on the casino floor at 1:30 a.m. had a mask, but many were wearing them below their chin to smoke a cigarette or have a drink, and some had them dangling from one ear to speak to a cashier or talk on the phone.

The table games area, though slow in the wee hours of the morning, was the only place where every player wore a mask, after an order from the state Gaming Control Board last Wednesday.

— Sabrina Schnur

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Southern Nevada Health District COVID-19 update
Southern Nevada Health District staff conduct a video briefing to provide updates about the public health agency’s COVID-19 response in Clark County.
Neighborhood rallies behind grad amid the coronavirus lockdown
Riley Lynn Thacker's mom put a sign in their yard to congratulate her daughter completing her senior year and neighbors followed suit. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Strawman — Part 8’

Part 8 of ‘Mobbed Up’ tells the story of the start of the FBI’s Strawman investigation, through electronic surveillance audio and interviews with former members of law enforcement in Kansas City.