Poker dealers in Las Vegas must again wear face masks

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 07/21/2021

The Clark County Commission voted on Tuesday to require employees in all Las Vegas businesses to wear face masks while on the job, and that includes poker dealers.

With the rapid spread of the Delta variant, rumors have been swirling around social media in recent days that Nevada would bring back some of its COVID-19 restrictions that were lifted June 1. Those rumors turned out to be true. But at this point, only certain restrictions have returned, and they don’t apply to everyone.

Bringing back COVID-19 measures

Beginning on Wednesday, Nevada’s largest county, Clark County, will require face masks for employees at all businesses. Whether or not businesses and employees will comply the law is another story, and we’ll find out in the coming days just how many workers refuse to wear face masks.

At present, fully vaccinated casino employees are not required to wear face coverings. In most Las Vegas poker rooms, it seems like about half the staff have been masked up since June 1. On Wednesday, 100% of the staff, including dealers, cocktail waitresses, and management, will be required to mask-up. The new mandate is set to expire August 17, although there are no guarantees that will happen.

The Delta variant has become a serious issue in Nevada, representing over 80% of COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. As such, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is considering further measures to stop the spread. He gave his full support to the Clark County Commission’s decision to require face masks in the workplace.

“I support the Clark County Commission for using their local authority to issue this mitigation measure amid significant community transmission in Southern Nevada and as we continue our joint effort to increase access and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

State agencies and leaders are working every day with my Office in joint unity with local leaders and health districts to combat recent increases. The State remains completely committed to provide every resource and support available to all of our counties as we see a rise in cases among the unvaccinated, driven by the Delta variant,” the Democratic Nevada politician said in a public statement.

Sisolak then encouraged all Nevadans to get vaccinated, but he’s facing brushback from political opponents who aren’t convinced the doctors and scientists are experts on medicine.

Impact on WSOP?

The 2021 World Series of Poker is scheduled to begin September 30 at the Rio in Las Vegas. As it stands, the current face mask requirement will be eliminated by then. That is important because the WSOP is still in search of dealers for the series, and it may be tough to find enough staff if employees are required to wear face masks.

An even bigger issue is if the virus continues to spread and Governor Sisolak is forced to impose further restrictions such as limited capacity in Nevada businesses, that could force the WSOP execs to alter the schedule, perhaps cutting out some of the bigger events.

For now, however, all Nevada businesses are permitted to operate at full capacity. If that stands and the face mask requirement is dropped, the upcoming World Series of Poker could become the biggest in its 52-year history.

Featured image source: Twitter