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Casino regulators tighten mask rules as coronavirus cases spike in Las Vegas

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Amid a rising number of coronavirus cases, gaming regulators in Nevada have issued new rules to help protect dealers. Starting immediately, players will be required to wear masks at gaming tables where there are no plexiglass partitions. 

The Nevada Gaming Control Board also issued new guidelines mandating casinos offer masks to all guests upon entry and post signs throughout their properties to alert customers that face coverings are available.  

But the regulators stopped short of mandating masks for all visitors inside a casino or for slot players. 

Pictures and videos posted on social media show the vast majority of guests on opening weekend in some places opted against wearing masks.  

Casinos have been open since June 4, and in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, coronavirus cases have spiked this week. Tuesday, the county recorded a daily record for increase in cases: 342. 

Julie Swann, a former science advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this is not a second wave.

“I think you’ve seen a ripple, and there’s a tsunami left,” said Swann.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in his U.S. Senate testimony this week called Nevada “Ground Zero” for why economic recovery could take years and why the federal government needs to plan on more aid.

Nevada state unemployment is 28%, and its workforce largely depends on businesses that profit from people congregating.

Powell says the trend of cases increasing where people are congregating could prevent a full return of the workforce.

“If they work in Nevada in the travel and entertainment industry, there just aren’t going to be jobs … some form of support for those people going forward, in my view, is likely to be appropriate,” Powell testified. 

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