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Masked Attendees? Get Ready for It

New rules by Caesars and MGM that require guests to wear masks at properties nationwide is a new piece to consider in the reopening puzzle.

The results of a SmartBrief survey released on June 25 reveal that business travelers overwhelmingly support people wearing masks on planes to control the spread of coronavirus and approve of government action to make that happen. In fact, almost 86 percent of survey respondents say that government should mandate that flyers wear masks on planes.

Opinions on whether or not you can or should require masks at your meetings may not be so clear cut. Mask wearing may depend on regulations in your destination, the current state of the viral transmission in the destination, the ability to social distance presented by the venue, and even the political outlook of your attendees.

However, if you want attendees to wear masks, the recent news from Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM International will come as welcome support. On Wednesday, the companies announced that masks would be mandatory for everyone indoors at its properties at all times, except when eating or drinking. Previously, only employees and guests at table games were required to wear masks. Now the rule applies to employees, vendors, contractors, guests, and anyone just walking through a property.

The new rules come just as Nevada Gov. Sisolak announced a new mandate requiring face masks to be worn in public throughout the state starting on June 26, however Caesars and MGM are applying the mandate to their properties nationwide.

At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear “cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” A study by HealthAffairs published in mid-June reports that state face mask mandates resulted in preventing as many as 230,000-450,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. between April 1 and May 21.

The states that now require people to wear masks in public settings include California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.

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