Nevada’s gambling regulators have ordered all table game players to wear COVID-19 masks if there is no physical separation of their presence.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board updated its health and safety policies for casinos on Wednesday that are reopening after their prolonged pandemic closure. The change comes after an unprecedented number of new COVID-19 cases reported by Nevada, just two weeks after the casinos were allowed to reopen.
Casinos now “must require patrons to wear face coverings at table and card games if there is no barrier, partition or shield between the dealer and each player.” This same requirement applies equally to table / card players and spectators or anyone else within six feet of the gaming position.
While casinos have encouraged guests to wear masks and are required to provide free masks to guests requesting them, anecdotal reports suggest an extremely small minority of gamblers are actually choosing to wear the things. This is despite evidence that widespread use of the mask is an effective means to limit transmission of COVID-19.
There is a potential downside to mask-wearing, in that the safety-conscious can be hard to distinguish from those with more malignant intent. William Clark, the man accused last week of robbing New York-New York casino while wearing a surgical mask, is representing the latter.
When more Las Vegas casinos announce plans to reopen, some take additional precautions with respect to their table games. For eg, the Sahara is now booking up to 72 hours in advance for groups of players wishing to play blackjack, roulette and baccarat without having to share airspace and/or droplets with foreign guests.
The Take A Seat programme for the Sahara allows groups of players that are members of the same household to book a reservation “up to the maximum pre-social distancing table capacity.” Casinos that do not offer this advantage are currently limited to three players per blackjack table, four for roulette and six for craps.
The Sahara isn’t just accommodating here, because when booking a table, although players don’t need to be a member of the Player Club rewards programme of casinos, “prior to play, all guests will need an active account.”