LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced the potential for fans at large events to shed their masks if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and if the venue meets certain safety requirements.
“We’re giving our private sector partners the choices and flexibility to lead in this area,” Sisolak told reporters Monday afternoon. “I’m so proud of the many who have already begun leading.”
The new directive would allow fully vaccinated attendees at large gatherings to remove their masks, but only if the venue chooses to require everyone in attendance to provide proof of vaccination. Those who have just one shot and are not “fully vaccinated” would still be allowed to attend, as would children under 12, but both would need to wear masks.
The governor insists the new directive is not a mandate or an attempt to implement a so-called “vaccine passport” in Nevada. He said he hopes private event operators will take advantage of the new rule and encourage more Nevadans to get their shots.
The new rule will only apply to events that meet specific requirements:
- The event must be a ticketed gathering in a venue with a fixed seating capacity of 4,000 or more.
- The event must require tickets or registration and be open only to those who have tickets or are registered.
- The event operator must control unauthorized people from attending.
- Event operators need to verify vaccination status in an accurate and effective way.
- Staff will need to implement the program, differentiate between those who are fully and partially vaccinated, and enforce mask rules for those who are only partially vaccinated.
- Anyone who does not provide proof of vaccination cannot be admitted.
Sisolak said the new rule will give operators of large events more choices and a reward for those who are fully vaccinated.
Some fully vaccinated visitors spoke to 8 News Now and say they like the idea of not wearing masks.
“I want to see faces, you know what I’m saying, all you see is eyes. You don’t see who’s who or what’s what,” William Warner a visitor to the valley said.
While other visitors 8 News Now spoke with say they want everyone to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
Wesley Etchells a visitor to Las Vegas says he’s concerned with the enforcement of the new option, “I still think it’s just going to push fake vaccinations for the people who don’t want to be vaccinated.”
The governor stressed that large events can continue with the current mandate, which requires face coverings in all public spaces for all attendees to large and small events.
Sisolak noted that Nevada is seeing positive signs in the fight to slow the spread of coronavirus. He said Nevada is seeing the second-slowest growth of average daily cases over the past 14 days. He said Nevada has administered nearly 20% more vaccines than the national average over the past two weeks.
Sisolak also addressed the potential of requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students returning to in-person learning at Nevada’s colleges and universities. He said the Nevada System of Higher Education will hold an emergency meeting this week to determine if such a rule is necessary.
The governor again encouraged students to start their COVID-19 vaccination series before returning to campus.
To view Gov. Sisolak’s full news conference from Aug. 16 click the video below.