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Mask mandate heeded

People in Boulder City are adjusting to the recent statewide mandate to wear masks in public places.

On June 24, Gov. Steve Sisolak issued the directive, which was effective Friday,.

Resident Ruth Johnson Bennett said she has been wearing a mask since the pandemic started in March.

“I think the mandate is vital, so we can get this under control again. … I wish people wouldn’t argue the point and just do it,” she said.

Sisolak’s mandate requires everyone to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces and in outdoor spaces where people gather and social distancing is not possible. It does excuse people who are eating or drinking in restaurants or bars from wearing masks as well as those who are outside hiking, running, walking or swimming as long as they socially distance.

On Monday, June 29, the Wilson family was eating dinner al fresco in Wilbur Square Park. Their group was less than 50 people, and they were more than 6 feet away from anybody else there.

Wendy Wilson, who was celebrating her birthday with family, said she didn’t feel the need to wear a mask when outdoors, far from others.

“The heat is already on our side,” she said.

Wilson said she wears a mask when she is in enclosed spaces.

“I wish we could have our noses exposed so we are not breathing the same air and getting so much carbon dioxide,” she added.

Coral Leon, who was part of the party, agreed, and said if someone is sick, they need to say home.

“It’s about making good choices,” she said of protecting herself and others from the coronavirus.

“I don’t think masks are necessary when we are outside and so far apart,” said Boulder City resident Selina Kasold, who was slacklining in Wilbur Square Park that same evening.

She does, however, wear one and follow the guidelines when indoors.

“I had mine on when I was walking in and ordering,” she said about an earlier visit to a local cafe.

Yesenia Rodriguez and Eduardo Lopez, both of Las Vegas, were recently visiting Boulder City and said they believed wearing face coverings is a good idea.

“You might have the virus and don’t have any symptoms. It might offer a little more protection,” Lopez said.

Rodriguez agreed; he said those who do not wear face masks could be exposing others.

Businesses are also affected by the directive, which requires them to institute a “no mask, no service” policy.

“In the office, we are sticklers about the whole mask thing,” said local Realtor Bret Runion.

Runion said customers who come into the office wear masks. They also practice social distancing.

When he shows homes, however, Runion said it can be a little bit different.

“I’ve found when I go out to show homes, there are people who are more on board than others,” he said.

Runion said they tailor their approach to each client because each one has a different level of sensitivity.

He also said he no longer takes clients to listings in his car. They either meet someplace or follow each other.

In terms of enforcing the mask mandate, Boulder City Police Chief Tim Shea said he and his officers are focusing on an educational approach.

“As with any ‘new’ law or regulation, it sometimes takes a little while to determine what level of enforcement is appropriate under what circumstances,” he said. “The current situation is especially so, given all of the exceptions, applicable circumstances and variable situations that modify requirements. … Currently, education, awareness and helping the businesses with compliance is the emphasis. Where all of this will lead us, I cannot even begin to guess. I only hope that evolving conditions will reduce enforcement concerns to becoming irrelevant.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal Capitol Bureau reporters Colton Lochhead and Bill Dentzer contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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