By Fermin Leguen, MD MPH, Acting Chief Health Officer, Southern Nevada Health District
The Southern Nevada Health District recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public, even more importantly in environments where social distancing is not always possible. As businesses are reopening, the Health District has issued guidance and recommendations that employees should wear non-hospital grade, cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone working is encouraged to wear a cloth face covering to protect customers when maintaining 6 feet of separation isn’t possible.
Unfortunately, as more businesses are opening and people are beginning to resume their normal activities, it is easy to forget that we are still responding to a pandemic, and precautions need to be taken. Many businesses have taken proactive measures to ensure the safety of their employees and their guests. While some of these measures have been mandated many of them have been voluntary and go beyond what is required.
One of the most effective measures, the wearing of cloth face coverings by guests and customers, is not mandated in Nevada. While growing evidence is showing that face coverings can be one of the most effective tools for slowing community transmission of the virus, unfortunately, it has faced opposition from limited segments of the population and reluctancy from some local business to properly request it from its patrons. Employees of local businesses are putting themselves at risk to provide services to the public who are not wearing masks. They are wearing masks to protect the people they are serving, whether these are Nevada residents or out of State visitors, and they deserve proper support from managers and leaders of their industries who must act responsibly by requiring patrons to wear masks or face coverings at their establishments. Businesses have a moral obligation to protect this community by implementing policies that require their patrons to wear masks in public areas; it will certainly contribute to the decrease of coronavirus spread in Clark County, and the State of Nevada.
I would ask our community and visitors to show the same regard for the public health and safety of the people who are providing you with services during these unprecedented times. Wear a mask or a cloth face covering when you are out in public areas. To our business community – consider implementing more stringent requirements for face coverings in your establishments to protect both your staff and your customers, as well as this community.
Together we can continue to slow the spread of the COVID-19 in our community. Stay safe.