Las Vegas Sun

December 3, 2022

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Use of face masks on Las Vegas Strip spotty, despite health warnings

Tourists Reflect on Coronavirus Concerns

Steve Marcus

Connie Argueta and her husband, Nabor Ibarra, are interviewed on the Las Vegas Strip on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Tourists Reflect on Coronavirus Concerns

Cathy Goings of Clarksburg, W.V. responds to a question on COVID-19 during an interview on the Las Vegas Strip Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Launch slideshow »

As Cathy Goings strolled around the Las Vegas Strip on Tuesday, she wore an unmistakable sign of the times — a blue surgical mask.

Goings said it’s vital people wear masks to prevent potentially spreading the coronavirus, and she was “a little irritated” about how many people were not wearing them.

“I think that shows a certain arrogance,” said Goings, who was visiting from Clarksburg, West Virginia, with her husband.

“Here in Las Vegas, you have visitors from all over the country — all over the world. We think it’s important to wear a mask, but not everybody else does,” she said.

Indeed, tourists interviewed Tuesday on the Strip estimated less than half the people they encountered were wearing masks, despite the urging of health officials for everyone to wear face coverings.

The state allowed casinos, closed since mid-March to help curb the spread of the virus, to reopen June 4 with social distancing guidelines. But it did not mandate masks for guests.

The Southern Nevada Health District issued a statement Monday saying businesses have a “moral obligation” to protect the community by requiring patrons to wear masks.

The Health District did not single out any industries. But the chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Sandra Douglass Morgan, said state regulators didn’t have plans to require masks for casino patrons, though resorts should “strongly encourage” their use.

Goings said she and her husband have been coming to Las Vegas for 40 years and booked a short trip to see what Las Vegas was like now before perhaps booking a longer trip. The verdict: “It’s different now, but Vegas is still Vegas,” she said.

Jared and Lexi Miller, newlyweds from Boise, Idaho, were in Las Vegas for their honeymoon.

The Millers weren’t wearing protective face coverings outside but said they had them handy and were wearing them inside the Bellagio, where they were staying.

Lexi Miller estimated about 40% of the tourists she had seen were wearing face coverings.

Jared Miller said it seems like it would be difficult to enforce requiring everyone to wear masks. “I think the best you can do is ask for cooperation,” he said.

California resident Connie Argueta drove to Las Vegas with her husband, Nabor Ibarra, for a quick stay at the Flamingo. Both were wearing face masks.

“From what I’ve seen, about 30% of people here are wearing masks. I thought it would be more than that,” Argueta said.

“My son is thinking of taking his family here on a trip, so I told him I’d give him a report,” she said. “Right now, I’d tell him that I think it’s a little iffy.”

Dominick Tarabokija and his wife, Maria, of Seattle were staying at the MGM Grand and were both wearing MGM-branded face masks supplied by the resort.

“I’m a little worried about my wife but not for myself,” he said. “I’m 72. What do I have to lose?”