LAS VEGAS – Wearing a mask inside a Caesars Entertainment casino?
Someone from the company may tap you on the shoulder and slip you $20 to gamble.
The operator of five reopened hotel-casinos on The Strip has launched the promotion to encourage guests to wear masks and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Over the weekend, a promotions team walked through Caesars Palace, Paris, Flamingo, The Linq and Harrah's to find people wearing masks while gambling or strolling the casino floor. All told, 375 guests got $7,500.
The promotion applies only to Caesars Rewards members wearing masks, but anyone can sign up for a chance to get the free money, according to the Reno Gazette Journal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
When will the limited time promotion end? That’s a little complicated, according to Caesars Entertainment public relations specialist Gia Silvaggio.
“The promotion would end if wearing masks became mandatory,” she said in an email to the USA TODAY Network.
Will everyone soon have to wear masks?
Caesars’ free-play giveaway comes when COVID-19 is gaining steam in Nevada, and state officials are getting pressured to require masks for all casino visitors.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board updated its health and safety policy for casinos last week, tightening rules for gamblers sitting down to play.
Nevada gamblers are now required to wear face masks at table games that have no barriers, an update that came less than two weeks after casinos opened in Nevada following a shutdown that lasted almost three months.
But the Silver State’s most powerful labor union is calling for state leaders to require visitors to wear masks in all public spaces at hotel-casinos to protect workers.
"Workers have fears," Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said Monday.
Argüello-Kline demanded that Nevada officials follow the lead of California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that citizens now must cover their mouths and noses in most indoor settings and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible.
“The numbers are not going down," Argüello-Kline said. "They’re going up."
Last week, two Flamingo employees tested positive for the coronavirus, and restaurants inside the Bellagio and Linq Hotel – including Guy Fieri's Las Vegas Kitchen Bar – closed after workers there got COVID-19.
COVID-19 cases surge in Nevada
The state reported 330 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total to 13,535 known cases. Health officials also reported three additional deaths on Monday, bringing the total number of people who’ve died from coronavirus to 489.
The state’s four highest single-day increases have all been recorded within the past week, according to state data.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he would also support local leaders who set stricter restrictions and encouraged business owners to mandate employees and customers to wear face masks.
“We’re not in a post-COVID time,” Sisolak said last week. “We’re in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic. We’re right dead-smack in the middle of it.”
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network.