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Nevada gives guidance on mask mandate taking effect Friday

New details emerged Thursday on Nevada’s mandate requiring face masks to be worn in indoor public spaces by the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, which goes into effect Friday.

The new order, based on revised guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued this week, will apply in counties with substantial or high rates of transmission of COVID-19, including Clark County.

As was the case with a previous mask mandate, the county’s Department of Business License will investigate any complaints it receives from the public and take action against substantiated violations, according to county spokeswoman Stacey Welling.

It will also take action against any offense that department agents observe while working in the field, she said.

Businesses found in violation of the order could face verbal warnings, citations, notices or other enforcement actions, depending on the circumstances, Welling said.

Cities in Southern Nevada will respond to complaints in their own jurisdiction.

Las Vegas business licensing officers, during normal inspections, will provide business signage in English and Spanish and also educate businesses on the mandate, city spokesman Jace Radke said.

There is no immediate plan to restart the city’s compliance ambassador program, he added, which was set up last year with at least 65 trained city staffers who assisted compliance efforts by visiting businesses to educate them on public health restrictions and observe for violations.

The Metropolitan Police Department will not be involved in enforcing the new mandate, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m.

In addition to Clark County, the mandate will initially apply to Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Washoe and White Pine counties.

It will not apply in Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Pershing and Storey counties, all of which have low to moderate rates of transmission of the disease caused by the coronavirus.

County transmission rates will be reviewed by the state Department of Health and Human Services each week on Tuesday, according to final guidance on the mandate issued late Thursday by Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office. If a county shows low or moderate transmission rates for at least two consecutive weeks, then vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear a mask in indoor public settings. Unvaccinated people would still be required to wear masks while indoors or in crowded outdoor settings, it said.

The guidance also offered details and examples of what is considered a “public indoor setting,” which it defined as “any indoor area where other people who are not members of your own household are present.”

Examples include offices; break rooms; grocery stores; shops; malls; casinos; theaters; museums; art galleries; public buildings; gyms, saunas, fitness studios and similar venues; public transportation, including rideshare services; any space visited by the general public, even if no one else is present; places where food is prepared, packaged or distributed; areas where people from multiple households may interact, even if members of the general public do not have access; and common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities.

Exempted from the mandate are children 9 or younger; people with a medical condition, disability or other health reason that prevents them from wearing a face mask; the homeless; employees for whom wearing a face mask would create a work-related risk; people obtaining services involving the nose or face; people who are actively eating in restaurants; vocal performers; musicians playing a musical instrument; and athletes while playing or practicing.

Contact Mike Brunker at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter. Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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