- The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued new guidelines allowing casinos to choose whether to enforce mask mandates for vaccinated guests and employees.
- Wynn Las Vegas allowed vaccinated casino guests and employees to go maskless the same night.
- Wynn saw a spike in unvaccinated workers looking to get their shots.
In a swift pivot, Wynn Las Vegas changed its rules regarding masks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance Thursday that people who have received the coronavirus vaccine do not need to wear masks outdoors or indoors.
In a press release Friday, the company said it will communicate the CDC guidelines to its Encore and Wynn guests that they are required to wear a mask if they are not vaccinated.
Importantly, the casino will not verify vaccination status.
"The resort trusts guests to take the appropriate precautions based on their personal vaccination status," Wynn Las Vegas said in a statement.
The company will require vaccination proof from its employees, though, before they're allowed to set aside their masks. The company said 91% of its employees had already received their shots.
"Yesterday evening, we saw a spike in the remaining unvaccinated employees seeking options for vaccination," said Michael Weaver, a Wynn Resorts spokesman.
The change was made possible because the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which sets the rules for casinos, reacted quickly to update its rules. It will neither require nor prohibit casinos from asking for proof of vaccination. It also said casinos can set rules on masks that are more restrictive than the CDC's guidelines.
MGM Resorts is also changing its policy, permitting fully-vaccinated customers at its properties in Las Vegas to go mask-free. However, it will require its workers to wear masks.
The new policy will go into effect at 3 p.m. ET.
Wynn CEO Matt Maddox was an early adopter of Covid safety precautions, and publicly issued a detailed plan for dealing with spread. Under the guidance of an infectious diseases expert, the company set up testing and vaccination sites for its employees. In April, Maddox gave employees a choice: get your shots or undergo weekly Covid testing. Workers' vaccination rates climbed as a result.
Now Wynn and Encore join other Las Vegas casinos in running at 100% occupancy, as now permitted, and it has removed all plexiglass dividers from the table games and slot machines.
According to the CDC, about 58.9% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 45.6% of those over 18 years old are fully vaccinated.