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Is it safe to visit Vegas casinos, bars, and malls again? Local doctor gives his take

Posted at 9:26 PM, Jun 12, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — After the reopening of several casinos, hotels, bars, and shopping malls, some are wondering if it is safe to go out and visit them again, especially after the recent increase of reported COVID-19 cases.

13 Action News has received several emails and phone calls from viewers who say they have not seen a lot of people following proper social distancing.

While casinos have added to their safety protocols while reopening, with employees wearing masks and encouraging customers to do the same (while providing them), many guests seem not to be following the new guidelines.

"That should be a hint to the public. We're practicing safe distancing, we would respect, you should do the same," said local Dr. Jeffrey Ng.

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He said he visited some off-the-strip casinos and was surprised by what he saw.

"30 percent of the guests were wearing masks. More people at the tables were wearing them, but there were a lot of people not wearing one," Ng said. "Also, the 6-feet distancing is hard to do in a casino, but they're doing it the best it can be."

So, how safe is it to visit a casino now? Ng says it is up to you, especially since you'll encounter a lot of strangers.

"You go to a table and see three of the four people not wearing a mask, don't go there, but it's your choice. Is it safe? I would strongly recommend using a mask. I still think you can gamble, but you have to be careful, and everyone should respect the rules," Dr. Ng said.

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Local bars and restaurants also have safety guidelines in place, and employees are required to wear a mask.

However, patrons are in a different situation; they're not required to wear a mask.

Dr. Ng says that it's important to be aware of the risks you could face when drinking or eating.

"A lot of it is common sense, and people are going to bars without wearing a mask. So, if you walk up to a bar, and you see that. My advice is to walk away, leave the bar, and find a place where everyone is repeating the mask rule," Dr. Ng said.

Additionally, the same precautions apply to other activities like shopping.

Dr. Ng said he visited the Fashion Show Mall and noticed a greater sense of awareness in customers, where most of them were wearing a mask, with some stores not allowing guests in without a face covering.