LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has mandated people must wear face coverings while in public spaces which includes private businesses, casinos, and hotels.
The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19 which continues to spread in Nevada but there are lingering questions about enforcement and medical exemptions.
The state's largest economic engine, gaming, was among the first to adopt a universal requirement for masks.
Caesars Entertainment mandated that masks be worn at all times while on their Las Vegas properties, unless eating, drinking, or smoking.
Other Las Vegas casino operators such as Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International issued statements indicating support for the governor's mandate.
"No Shoes, No Shirt, No Mask, No Service," said Gov. Steve Sisolak during a news conference on Wednesday.
The mandate includes no civil or criminal penalties for individuals who willingly violate the directive, but the businesses that allow violators will face the consequences through fines or other regulatory means, according to the governor.
There are exemptions for medical reasons and for children under the age of 2 (masks are encouraged for children 2 and older and adults).
"Some of these conditions that might not be able to wear a traditional face mask are conditions like obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions, and people with severe claustrophobia," said Clark County Medical Society President-Elect Dr. Staci McHale.
Dr. McHale suggests that people who are unable to wear a face-covering for medical reasons can choose other options such as a bandana or face shield.
"Something easier like a face shield allows the person wearing it to be able to breathe, to be able to talk and not have anything covering their face," said Dr. McHale.
"It still protects all of the people across from them from COVID-19," added Dr. McHale.
McHale said the mask mandate is largely on the honor system and people who do not wear masks do not have to show documentation, cards, or doctor's notes if asked.
"[Authorities] are not requiring any sort of identification or any sort of letter to state that you have a condition, it really is left up to being a truthful and honest person and the business owner respecting those conditions," said Dr. McHale.
13 Investigates reached out to the city of Las Vegas regarding enforcement action and a spokesperson released a statement:
"We are still reviewing the information from the governor’s office, but we will certainly be working to educate about the mandate. As with all the directives through the closure and Phase 1 and 2 reopenings the city along with all the other government agencies in Southern Nevada have worked to educate businesses and the public as to the requirements."
The governor added the current COVID-19 trend is troubling.
Nevada set a new case record on Wednesday with 507 single day cases.
That is the largest one day total since the pandemic began.
"This right here had a lot to do with why the numbers are going up, people aren't wearing [masks.]" said Gov. Sisolak.