LAS VEGAS (KLAS) –– Amid an increase in coronavirus cases and no all-encompassing mask mandate, some communities across the country are advising their residents not to travel to Las Vegas unvaccinated.
A mask mandate that applies to employees at all businesses in Clark County went into effect Thursday. Last week, the Southern Nevada Health District recommended everyone — vaccinated or not — wear a mask in crowded indoor public settings.
Before county commissioners voted for the mandate, which expires Aug. 17, leaders in at least three communities expressed concern about travel to Las Vegas for the unvaccinated.
Last week, Chicago added the entire state of Nevada to its travel advisory list. Health officials in Los Angeles also expressed concern about Californians traveling to Las Vegas amid Nevada’s rise in cases.
“The biggest hotspot for bringing COVID home to Kaua’i? Las Vegas,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami of Kaua’i County, Hawaii, in a health update posted earlier this week.
“Visitors usually stay indoors for a long time,” Kawakami said. “They mingle with others from all over the country, including from states where COVID and the Delta variant are spreading rapidly. Masks are not required indoors in Las Vegas, and the result is the spread of COVID-19.”
Hawaii’s second-in-command was blunter when he spoke to 8 News Now’s sister station in Hawaii on Monday about traveling to Nevada unvaccinated.
“You’re taking a huge risk, and you will very likely catch COVID if you go to Las Vegas,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who is also a physician, said. “You’re in restaurants or in a casino where most people are not wearing masks. That’s what’s going to happen. You will definitely catch COVID. Then you’ll come back, you’ll be asymptomatic for a few days, you’ll test positive for COVID, and you’ll give it to your whole family.”
Nearly 60% of Hawaii’s population is fully vaccinated, state data shows. Just under 40% of Nevadans are fully vaccinated. In Clark County, the figure is lower at about 39%.
Clark County’s test positivity rate held steady Thursday at 14%. A day after logging 28 deaths statewide, Nevada reported eight deaths, with seven of those coming from Clark County.
Clark County remains a “sustained hotspot” being watched by the federal government, according to a White House COVID-19 Team report updated this week.
A White House report last week singled out the Las Vegas metro area as the worst in the nation for transmission of the virus among metro areas with more than 1 million people. This week’s report lists Las Vegas as No. 4, only behind three Florida cities, including Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami.