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Policy ins and outs: Nevada's updated mask requirements effective July 30, 2021

Casino Win Nevada
Posted at 5:34 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 23:04:57-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Starting Friday, everyone in Nevada will have to wear a mask indoors again, whether you're vaccinated or not.

This follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidelines issued on Tuesday. The CDC says people living in areas with a high transmission rate of the virus, like Nevada, are urged to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

RELATED: Return of mask mandate brings new signage, compliant guests to Las Vegas Strip

Some COVID-19 hotspots like San Francisco, Seattle and New York are taking it a step further and requiring staff and customers to be vaccinated.

In Southern Nevada, that's not currently a requirement.

Lina Ter-Oganova is a business owner in Henderson. She tells 13 Action News she will follow mask mandates and safety protocols but draws the line at requiring her employees to get vaccinated.

"It is not up to me to decide what the employee wants, if they want to get vaccinated I can't force that upon them," she said.

Just a few doors down from her business is Prestige Dental, where Office Manager Theresa Tang says, if the CDC requires vaccination of employees, it will be enforced at their location.

RELATED: CDC recommends vaccinated people wear masks indoors where virus is surging

"We follow and adhere to CDC guidelines, that's it, no simple question asked," she said.

In the meantime, the Nevada Health Response has issued additional guidance on Thursday related to the state’s mask requirements updated earlier in the week.

Below is a message from state officials.

In accordance with the Declaration of Emergency Directive 047, all persons in counties with substantial or high community transmission rates will be required to wear face coverings while in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status. This mandate goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 30, 2021.

What are the new mask requirements for Nevada based on the July 27th CDC announcement?

On July 27, 2021, the CDC announced that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, should wear a mask in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.

According to State of Nevada Emergency Directive 045, which was signed and went into effect on May 3, 2021, Nevada’s statewide face-covering requirements are based on the recommendations issued by the CDC. Directive 045 states that if the CDC issues new recommendations on masks—either loosening or strengthening the existing recommendations – the State of Nevada automatically adopts those recommendations as a state requirement.

Therefore, all counties in Nevada that are experiencing substantial or high transmission levels based on the latest CDC COVID tracker must follow the new mask requirements.

When is the new mask mandate effective in Nevada?

The new mask mandate becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 30.

To allow communities and businesses within counties with substantial or high transmission time to align with new requirements, Gov. Sisolak issued Emergency Directive 047, which allows a three-day grace period after the CDC announcement to implement the new state mask mandate. Accordingly, the mask requirements based on Tuesday's updates from the CDC will formally go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 30, 2021.

Which Nevada counties will be affected by the mask mandate?

Based on the CDC data that was available on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 (date of release for new CDC recommendations and Directive 047), 12 of Nevada’s 17 counties have substantial or high transmission, and therefore will be required to have everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 30, 2021. Currently, these counties are Carson, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Washoe and White Pine.

Eureka, Humboldt and Lander counties are listed as moderate, and Pershing and Storey counties are at low transmission as of the latest CDC updates.

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Risk of coronavirus transmission in Nevada counties as of July 29, 2021. Source: Nevada Health Response

How often will county status be reviewed and updated?

County transmission data will be reviewed weekly every Tuesday, by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) based on the data available on the CDC county tracker. DHHS will provide updates weekly every Tuesday to counties and the public informing them of their status.

For a county to change masking requirement status, it must remain in a transmission classification for two consecutive weeks before the mask requirement will be either increased or relaxed. If a county’s status changes, it will have until that Friday of the same week to implement that change.

***Please note that the CDC tracker updates daily, so a county’s masking requirement status may not always match what is on the CDC website***

For example, any relaxation of the masking requirement will not occur until a county has demonstrated transmission rates of low or moderate for at least a two-week period based on data posted every Tuesday (the length of an incubation period), to ensure stability in the overall decreasing trend of transmission. Conversely, if a county has demonstrated transmission rates of substantial or high for at least a two-week period, all individuals within that county must begin wearing masks at indoor public settings whether vaccinated or not. Counties will have to implement the masking requirement change on the Friday of that same week.

So my county could get rid of the mask mandate for vaccinated individuals?

Yes. If your county reduces transmission levels to moderate or low for two consecutive weeks, then vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear a mask in indoor public settings. Unvaccinated individuals will still be required to wear masks while indoors or while in crowded outdoor settings.

What is a “public indoor setting?”

A “public indoor setting” is any indoor area where other people who are not members of your own household are present. This includes offices, breakrooms, and other areas where people from multiple households may interact, even though the general public (i.e., the public at large) does not have access to the area.

“Indoor” means any enclosed space that has a listed fire code capacity, or is primarily enclosed, whether by rigid or non-rigid, permanent or temporary wall and roof structures. This would include, for example, tents with walls. However, it does not include structures that consist solely of an overhead cover, such as canopies or awnings.

In counties with substantial or high transmission risk, face coverings should be worn at all times in indoor public settings, including, but not limited to:

  • Indoor Public spaces, such as:
    • Inside grocery stores, shops, malls, casinos, and other places of business.
    • Inside theaters, museums, art galleries, and other cultural venues.
    • Inside public buildings, including the DMV, social services offices, and similar locations.
    • Inside gyms, saunas, fitness studios, and similar venues.
    • All other indoor public venues.
  • Public or Private Transportation or paratransit that others HAVE used or WILL use:
    • While riding on public transportation or paratransit.
    • While riding in taxis, private car services, monorails, trams, and rideshares like Uber and Lyft.
    • While driving or operating any form of transportation or paratransit when passengers not in your same household are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are still strongly recommended.
  • While at work:
    • When interacting in person with members of the public.
    • When in any space visited by the general public, even if no one else is present.
    • When in any space where food is prepared or packaged, for sale, or generally distributed to others.
    • When walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities.
    • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present.

What are the mask requirements in counties with “low” or “moderate” transmission?

In counties with “low” or “moderate” transmission, the mask requirement remains the same as it was before the CDC’s July 27th announcement. That is: unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask while indoors or while in crowded outdoor settings. Vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask either indoors or outdoors. However, wearing a mask is now recommended when in a crowded setting, especially indoors.

Are there any exemptions to who has to wear a mask?

Yes. Pursuant to Directives 045 and 047, the exemptions that were in place prior to the CDC’s July 27 announcement remain in place. These exemptions include:

  • Children who are 9 years of age or younger, except in school settings. (School settings will be addressed in subsequent guidance.) Children 2-9 years of age are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in public spaces, including in childcare and daycare settings.
  • People who have a medical condition, disability, or other health reason that prevents them from wearing a face covering. This includes people with any medical condition for whom wearing a face covering can obstruct their breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Individuals exempted under this provision should wear a nonrestrictive alternative, such as a face shield, if possible.
  • People who are experiencing homelessness. These individuals are strongly encouraged to continue to practice social distancing, to wear face coverings if possible, and to seek out community services where available.
  • People who are hearing impaired, or when in communication with an individual who is hearing impaired where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • People for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person as related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
  • People who are obtaining services involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • People who are at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage services, while they are actively eating or drinking.
  • Vocal performers during performances when a face covering cannot be worn due to the nature of the performance. Face shields should be considered as an alternative in these situations. Vocal performers include singers, comedians, magicians, open-mic and karaoke performers, etc.
  • Musicians playing a musical instrument, such as a woodwind or brass instrument, may remove their face covering during an indoor practice or performance if the face-covering cannot be used while playing the musical instrument.
  • Athletes while playing or practicing.

What We Know About Covid-19 And Delta Variant

COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent the Delta variant of COVID-19 and all other strains from spreading even further. In addition, vaccines help prevent the evolution of new variants that may be more transmissible or cause more severe illnesses. Most transmission happening around the country is among unvaccinated people and in areas with low vaccination rates. We need more people to get vaccinated to stay ahead of changes in the virus.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe illness and death from SARS-CoV-2 infection, but with increased disease transmission due to the Delta variant, the implementation of layered prevention strategies, such as masking, are needed to reduce disease transmission and prevent future mutation.

  • Vaccines are working. Fully vaccinated individuals have a very strong degree of protection against the variants, including Delta, and they are also helping to reduce the spread of the virus in communities. They are overwhelmingly avoiding severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Unvaccinated individuals account for virtually all the hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S.
    • Unvaccinated individuals should get vaccinated and continue masking. With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes are happening in places with low vaccination rates.
  • Data show Delta is much more contagious than past versions of the virus.
    • The emerging evidence about the Delta variant demonstrates it is more formidable than the original virus. Delta spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another, compared with earlier strains.
    • New data show that people infected with Delta have higher viral loads—meaning more of the virus in their bodies—than with previous variants.
    • Delta is causing some “vaccine breakthrough infections,” meaning infections in fully vaccinated people, than other strains have. Some vaccinated people can get Delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious. Importantly, the vaccines prevent the most severe infections from any strain of COVID-19.
      • In contrast to the Alpha strain, new data show that fully vaccinated people who are infected with the Delta variant might be infectious and might potentially spread the virus to others.
    • Even so, vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country and most breakthrough infections are mild. Vaccines are working as they should -- they are preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. o Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.
  • We are in a race against time to increase vaccination coverage before new variants emerge. Variants are expected as long as transmission continues, which is why vaccination and masking efforts are so critical to preventing increased transmission.
  • In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of Delta and protect others.
  • CDC recommends that community leaders encourage vaccination and masking to prevent further outbreaks in areas of substantial and high transmission.

The information above is provided by Nevada Health Response.