Nevada has issued an emergency order requiring people in 12 of the state's 17 counties — to wear masks in public indoor spaces, whether they're vaccinated or not.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, the mandate becomes effective in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and much of the state.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board, which regulates casinos, noted that Gov. Steve Sisolak's Emergency Directive 047 applies to all "employees, patrons, and guests."
Just a week earlier, Las Vegas leaders on the Clark County Commission said only workers would need to wear masks in the city's casinos, but new CDC mask guidelines issued Tuesday recommend even fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors in areas of high coronavirus transmission.
All 12 of the counties included in Nevada's order have substantial or high transmission rates of COVID-19: Carson, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Washoe and White Pine.
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While experts say masks aren't likely to crush community spread, they might ratchet up pressure on unvaccinated people and encourage businesses and schools to implement mask mandates.
The CDC is also now recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors inside schools from kindergarten to 12th grade, regardless of vaccination status. That aligns closely with guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommended this month that anyone older than 2 be required to wear a mask in school.
COVID-19 cases surge across Nevada
Nevada has resurfaced as a COVID-19 hotspot in recent weeks due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
After falling to just 132 daily new cases on June 9, by July 24, new confirmed COVID-19 cases shot up to 870 per day, a level not seen since early February.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 1,143 people were hospitalized statewide — 36 of them on ventilators, according to state data.
Clark County — Nevada's most populous county and home of the Las Vegas Strip — accounts for nearly 80% of COVID-19 cases in the state, as well as the highest incidence rate.
The county has a 39% vaccination rate. While it saw a high number of vaccinations earlier this year, rates have since slowed down.
Vaccination rates are also relatively low across the state. Just over 47% of residents ages 12 and up were fully vaccinated statewide as of Monday, according to data from the Nevada Health and Human Services department and governor's office.
"Let’s mask up to keep one another safe. And if you haven’t yet, get your #COVID19 vaccine," Gov. Sisolak tweeted Tuesday with an announcement of the emergency directive on masks.
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network.
This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Las Vegas mask mandate: New CDC mask guidelines prompt Nevada orders