“We’ve got to do something,” Commissioner Jim Gibson said as he raised the specter of crowded hospitals and canceled trade shows. The tourism world, he said, was watching what the elected body with jurisdiction over the Las Vegas Strip would do. “We have already been through a shutdown and a start-up,” Gibson said. “We cannot afford to have major conventions choose to go elsewhere.”
But they decided not to impose a full mask mandate for everyone strolling the Strip and gathering in crowded spaces and casinos. The Clark County Commission instead voted to make employers require workers to wear masks in indoor public spaces like stores, malls and clubs, and post signs citing local health district advice that everyone — vaccinated or not — should wear face coverings. A hastily called and sometimes contentious emergency meeting drew a big audience and about 50 speakers — almost all opposed to mask requirements, vaccinations and business closures and distancing.
“Any decision a person takes involves risks. Vaccines should be up to us,” declared speaker Katrin Ivanoff, who was later removed by security officers after a vocal outburst from her seat. Nevada Resort Association and Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce representatives said they favored a mask mandate and asked for written guidance about enforcement.
The commission unanimously decided venues where more than 250 people gather should submit by next Monday plans about possible next steps to stem the spread of coronavirus. The vote made the mask rule effective at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, to be reviewed Aug. 17. Some said they simply won’t comply.
“It will fail to be enforced,” speaker Monica Ursua predicted. “We the people say, ‘No more.’” The seven-member commission, all Democrats, acknowledged “coronavirus fatigue” 16 months after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak mandated masks in March 2020, closed casinos and nonessential businesses, and implemented distancing and other measures. On May 13, the governor, a Democrat, following CDC guidelines, dropped the requirement for vaccinated people to wear face coverings in Nevada. Unvaccinated people were still advised to wear masks.
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