‘It’s a double-edged sword’: New mask exception announced for large, indoor conventions in Nevada

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS-TV) – Masks at Las Vegas conventions could soon be a thing of the past for fully vaccinated attendees.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed Emergency Directive 050 Thursday, which expands the mask exception for larger indoor events to now include conventions within counties that have “substantial” or “high” COVID-19 transmission if all attendees are vaccinated. It means convention operators would have the option to ask attendees for proof of vaccination.

The rule is similar to the large event mask exception that went into effect last month, which the Las Vegas Raiders have put into place for games at Allegiant Stadium. Proof of vaccination would not be mandatory for all conventions, just for those that choose this option.

“I patronize a few different conventions here,” said Tony Carnevale, Curator of Carnevale Gallery, located at The Forum Shops at Caesars on the Las Vegas Strip.

Carnevale attends several trade shows in Las Vegas. But there is one thing he does not like about COVID-era conventions.

“I don’t want to see masks,” Carnevale said.

Now, that wish could come true. Gov. Sisolak announced an exception to the indoor mask mandate for conventions. It would allow organizers to require proof of vaccination at conventions with 4,000 or more attendees, and only those fully vaccinated would not be required to wear masks.

Under the exception, those who are not vaccinated would not be able to attend. The other option would be continuing the current rules, which do not ask for proof of vaccination but require masks for everyone, even those who are fully vaccinated.

Carnevale says the new exception is something he can get behind.

“I’m just not a proponent of the masks. And it seems that right now the only alternative is the vaccination,” Carnevale said.

Georganne Bender, a partner with Kizer & Bender Speaking, frequently speaks about consumer behavior at Las Vegas conventions. While she like the idea of the exception, she sees a potential problem.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Bender said.

Bender says one downside of the exception is the potential economic implications of banning unvaccinated vendors.

“It could impact the city,” Bender said. “Personally, I’d prefer not to wear a mask, but on the other hand, I would like to have every retailer who needs to attend that show, attend that show.”

While conventions contemplate the next steps, Carnevale has one goal:

“I just wish and hope that we can get through this sooner than later,” Carnevale said.

Under the new exception, convention operators must come up with a way of differentiating attendees who are fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated. Those who are partially vaccinated would still be required to wear masks.

Click here to see the Governor’s full guidance.

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