Land-based gaming giants Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts have announced customers will be required to wear masks at all venues throughout the US in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Both operators had previously varied their face mask rules for customers depending on state regulations.
While face masks were required at gaming tables in Nevada and for anyone indoors in a situation where physical distancing is not possible in Illinois, they were not required for customers in many other states.
Staff at both operators’ casinos were already required to wear masks, however.
Now, however, all customers at Caesars and MGM casinos will be required to wear face coverings as well, with the casinos providing masks for customers who need one.
The nationwide policy for each operator comes after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that residents and tourists would be required to wear masks in public, following a spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.
Tony Rodio, chief executive of Caesars Entertainment, said his company’s decision came after examining the latest scientific evidence in favor of mask-wearing.
“We promised that Caesars would continue to evaluate the latest recommendations, directives and medical science regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and modify our enhanced health and safety protocols accordingly,” Rodio said.
“As a result, 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.”
While Caesars’ nationwide mask policy is already in effect, MGM’s will come into effect tomorrow (26 June).
MGM said its policy should help customers feel safer at its resorts.
“As part of our work to continually update and evolve our health and safety policies, we are now requiring masks for all guests and visitors inside public spaces,” MGM explained. “We hope that our guests will do their part to help the collective efforts to curtail the spread of the virus. Guests who do not wish to comply will be asked to leave the property.
“It is clear that the Coronavirus still presents a significant public health threat, and masks have proven to be one of the best ways to curtail the spread. We want guests and employees to feel comfortable that we are putting their health and safety first.”
Caesars said it would continue reopening its properties that remain closed in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and Ontario “in line with regulatory approvals and customer demand”. The operator has already reopened properties in Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, and Indiana, as well as tribal facilities it operates in Arizona, California and North Carolina. The reopened venues in Nevada include the Caesars Palace and Flamingo resorts.
MGM began to reopen its properties in Mississippi last month, and continued with reopenings in Nevada after the state allowed casinos to open again on 4 June. The operator announced a seven-step safety plan for reopening in May.
Besides the requirement for employees to wear masks, the protocols set out in the plan include staff screening, temperature checks and coronavirus specific training, as well as the the installation of fabricated hand-washing stations on casino floors and installing plexiglass barriers in areas where physical distancing presents challenges