(Cole Lauterbach) – Gov. Steve Sisolak has made Nevada the latest state to scrap its mask mandate.
Sisolak announced in a video news conference Thursday he was rescinding the face mask requirement for public places, effective immediately.
“To the Nevadans and travelers that have done the right thing, gotten vaccinated, stayed diligent, and protected each other for the last two years, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you,” Sisolak said. “Given all of these updates and the tools we have, now is the appropriate time for me to announce that Nevada will rescind our mask mandate, effective immediately.”
Sisolak cautioned there still would be locations that can require patrons to wear masks.
“Masks and protective equipment requirements in facilities serving vulnerable populations – like hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities – will be overseen at the direction of [the Department of Health and Human Services],” he said. “The safety of health care staff and patients are our top priority.”
The announcement came a day after the National Federation of Independent Business’ Nevada chapter wrote Sisolak and asked him to rescind the mandate.
“Employers tell me that when they interview potential employees, they ask: ‘Will I have to wear a mask? If so, then I won’t take the job,’” wrote Randi Thompson, Nevada state director for the NFIB.
“Nevada had the highest ‘quit’ rate in the nation last year at 3.8%, according to an analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Some of the reasons workers cite for quitting is having to wear a mask at work for hours, having to continually ask customers to put on a mask, and getting harassed by customers who refuse to put on a mask,” Thompson wrote. “This mandate is cruel to employees and making work a miserable experience.”
Casinos, which the Nevada State Gaming Control Board regulates, still must require masks until the commission can finalize a rule reflecting the change, per The Associated Press.
Sisolak stressed Thursday the state might be lifting its mask requirement not announcing a mask mandate ban similar to what neighboring Arizona attempted to do before having the order ruled unconstitutional.
“Let me be clear: the state will no longer require masks in public places, but employers and organizations, including school districts, may set their own policies, and I encourage them to work with their employees and communities to ensure that policies are in place,” he said.
Federally regulated locations such as post offices and airports continue to require face coverings.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this week the state’s mask mandate would be lifted Feb. 15, though only for the vaccinated. Some locations, including Los Angeles County, will not participate in lifting the requirement, with officials saying the area is seeing too many COVID-19 infections to allow the mandate to expire.