Mississippi Casinos Remove COVID-19 Restrictions
All casinos in Mississippi are now allowed to remove COVID-19 restrictions including mask mandates.
On Thursday, the Mississippi Gaming Commission announced that all COVID-19 restrictions enacted since March 4 were not longer required. The order starts today at 5pm. All licensed operators are to continue to follow state and local rules when it comes to the virus. Will the removal of such restrictions cause more travelers to head to Mississippi casinos? Those who have been strict about travel may feel like it is not time yet to be removing certain restrictions such as mask wearing.
Out with the Old Guidelines
Back in early March, the state decided to require new guidelines related to the pandemic. Occupancy levels were limited to 75% of the venue capacity. While indoors, employees and patrons were told to wear masks. The only time a mask could be removed was when the individual was eating or drinking.
Staff members of the casinos were asked to ensure visitors were practicing social distancing and that they were keeping distance from others as well. Symptoms of the virus were posted at the entry points of casinos and anyone with such symptoms were asked to avoid the area if they were showing any signs of sickness.
Now, most of the restrictions will go away. While the casinos are allowed to make changes, many will continue to follow cleaning protocols to ensure that high touch areas are disinfected and avoid any potential outbreaks. Cleaning is a necessity anyway and with the protocols already in place, it promotes a healthy environment in general to continue to keep up the rigorous cleaning schedule.
Is It Time?
There are many thoughts on the coronavirus in the US and all of them are mixed. A majority of people have been reluctant to wear a mask or get vaccinated now that the vaccination process is an option. Many in this group have caught the virus and spread it to others.
People who do not take the virus seriously are more likely to be out and about rather than those who are more cautious with their approach. Mask wearers and vaccinated individuals still see the potential risk and want to stay safe. Will the casino mandate to not require masks keep a bulk of tourists from returning to the venues?
Some people may be willing to visit despite the mask mandate but may choose to leave if there are too many groups congregating mask-less in one place. People with a higher risk connected to the virus are encouraged to protect themselves, such as wear a mask and socially distance from other people.
The removal of such restrictions comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are down. The state saw only 161 cases reported yesterday and two deaths. While this number is low, there are minimal increases being seen across the state.
Is this because more people are hanging out with others, traveling, and shopping without masks or other precautions? Will allowing casinos to offer services sans masks cause an uptick as well? Only time will show if this was a smart decision or not.
As summer approaches, more people are going to be traveling from out of state. In areas where masks are not mandated, people are still wearing them to stay safe. So, we may see people travel to Mississippi casinos but still wear a mask. It will be interesting to see reports over the next few weeks that detail mask wearing, visitor numbers, and any new cases of the virus.
Shows and events are starting to be announced at casinos which will bring in more traffic. Hopefully, precautions will still be taken, and enough people will be vaccinated to avoid any major outbreaks of the virus that were seen at the same time last year.