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Every Las Vegas gambler's poker face just got much stronger after a trio of major casinos reestablished mask mandates.

After the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) announced new guidelines urging individuals to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, The Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo & Convention Center announced policy changes requiring employees to wear face coverings amid a surge of COVID-19 infections in Clark County.

The news arrives on the heels of a bleak report issued by the White House COVID-19 Response Team last week, which singled out Las Vegas as the worst city in the nation in terms of COVID-19 transmission among metro areas with more than one million people. According to local CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, Clark County—by far Nevada's largest county by population—remains a "sustained hotspot" for new infections after reporting 889 on Monday, or about 88% of the state's cases.

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The Palazzo was one of three Las Vegas casinos to reinstate mask mandates after the announcement of new guidelines urging individuals to wear face coverings regardless of their vaccination status.

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It's important to note that the measure is a recommendation for patrons and not a requirement at this time, according to Dr. Fermin Leguen, the district's chief Health Officer. The onus of requiring masks by law, he said, is on the state and county. However, according to a press release issued by the SNHD, the unit wants to implement the measure in "grocery stores, malls, large events, and casinos."

"As COVID-19 case counts and the positivity rate continues to increase in our community, the Southern Nevada Health District is now recommending both unvaccinated and vaccinated people wear masks in crowded indoor public places where they may have contact with others who are not fully vaccinated," the statement reads.

So what does this mean for the region's iconic nightlife sector? It would be naive to believe that Las Vegas' clubs aren't in the crosshairs of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant, which is the "most prevalent form of the virus in the state," according to KTLA 5.

It's also fair to wonder whether or not Insomniac is considering a contingency plan for the promoter's flagship music festival, EDC Las Vegas, which is scheduled for October 22-24. A cancellation would be devastating for the organization and its beleaguered founder, Pasquale Rotella, who had to do severe damage control in the wake of the event's controversial May postponement. The three-day festival is one of the largest in the world, regularly reporting attendance of over 150,000 per day at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Casting a shadow over the industry's prospects is a troubling story published last week by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who reported that at least 11 healthcare workers—eight of whom were fully vaccinated—tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a pool party on June 7th. According to the Journal, who cited emails from the SNHD, at least 10 of the 11 infected individuals caught the Delta variant.



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