By Drew Andre
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Signs that read “face masks required” were still posted around Emerald Island Casino Thursday afternoon. Owner Tim Brooks was just waiting for the signal from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to lift the mandate.
“This is actually a blessing in disguise,” Brooks said. “I don’t think it’s going to have an adverse effect on business I think it’s going to send a strong message to our guests and to the people of Nevada that ‘hey this thing might finally be over.’”
The Wynn became the first casino to publicly announce it was lifting its mask mandate for fully vaccinated guests. The resort will use an honor system and trust guests to take the appropriate precautions based on their vaccine status.
Brooks said that his casino will likely follow a similar strategy.
“With herd immunity and everybody getting the vaccine, I don’t think they would have brought it this far if they didn’t feel comfortable. There are always going to be some people that will try to skirt the system,” Brooks said.
The Gaming Control Board is following the governor’s new guidance that aligns with the CDC. The board said it won’t require or stop casinos from confirming guest vaccinations. Casinos can also choose to have more restrictive COVID-19 rules when it comes to masks, social distancing and capacity.
Although the majority will likely ditch the face coverings, Brooks predicts some vaccinated guests won’t gamble taking off the mask.
Emerald Island floor manager Jeff Wiley said lifting the requirement will make it easier to communicate with customers.
“The biggest part is when you’re trying to talk to guests you can’t really see the facial expressions. With all of the noises people have a tendency to read lips,” Wiley said. “It’s a lot more difficult when the masks are on, so it’s definitely going to be a huge customer experience lift for us.”
Brooks said they have not decided what the requirement will be for employees.