Gulf Coast Casinos in Mississippi Reinstate Mask Mandate
Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos are mandating employees wear masks once again while indoors as the number of positive COVID-19 cases increases.
In the south, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over. Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi have some the highest case counts of the virus and the number is still climbing. For casinos in the state of Mississippi, officials are now calling for employees to wear masks at all times indoors. The hope is that as employees wear masks, it will help to cut down on the number of infected in the gulf region. Employees must wear a mask despite being vaccinated or not.
The decision to reinstate mask wearing among employees comes just a short time after the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new information regarding the need for mask wearing. State health officials in Mississippi agree with the changes.
Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts both operate casinos along the coast and are requiring members to wear masks. The venues in Biloxi have reimplemented the mandate and will not tolerate any employee that does not follow the order.
Health experts fear that the low vaccination rate in the sound is attributing to the high number of positive cases. Because casinos are social businesses and people are touching game machines, chips, and cards, it is important to practice cleanliness and disinfecting regularly as well. The casinos are continuing with cleaning protocols to ensure that high traffic and touch areas are disinfected correctly.
Face masks are not required for guests again, at least not right now. However, the casinos are offering masks to anyone that would like to wear one. Non-vaccinated guests are asked to wear a face covering but the Mississippi casinos are not asking anyone for proof of vaccination.
One casino is hopeful that a cash drawing will incentivize employees to become vaccinated. The Treasure Bay Casino is not mandating mask wearing but is encouraging employees to get the shot. A drawing will take place involving those who have had the show with $500 in prize money given to the winner.
Will 2020 Repeat?
As the 2021-22 school year is about to begin, many wonder if the increase of COVID-19 positive cases is only going to get worse. The Delta variant is the dominant virus being spread right now and it has been found to affect children more so than the original strain. With a higher rate of spread, the number of positive cases could continue to sky rocket.
Across the United States, many casino operators have called for employees to be vaccinated and for masks to be worn yet again. With the case count so high already, will we see a repeat of 2020 where casinos are completely shut down for weeks or months on end?
For casino operators, closure is not an option. Venues are doing everything they can to keep employees and guests healthy. With mask mandates, regular cleaning, and social distancing coming back into play, casino operators are hopeful that these steps will be enough to keep venues open.
It is unclear right now as to if closures will be imminent, but if it is up to the casinos, they will stay open. It would not be surprising to see more restrictions put in place, including guest mask-wearing, in the future, if the virus continues to spread at the rate it is now.
Only time will tell if the casino industry will suffer a big hit like it did in 2020 or if the virus will slow down once more so that businesses like gambling venues can hopefully stay on track with the recovery process as planned.