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Masks are back for some

Employees in Boulder City and the rest of Clark County will have to wear masks in public indoor places regardless of their vaccination status according to a new mandate.

The Clark County Commission issued the directive during an emergency meeting Tuesday, July 20. It came as lawmakers work to slow a rise in local COVID-19 cases that has been attributed to the more contagious delta variant and a plateau in vaccinations.

“In compliance with the county board’s decision, the city of Boulder City will require city employees to wear masks in public indoor areas and when interacting with the public indoors, including the Aug. 10 City Council meeting,” said Acting City Manager Michael Mays. “The city will also be working with local businesses to ensure that they are following the same requirements with their employees. Boulder City will continue its efforts to encourage citizen vaccination to help move our community beyond this pandemic.”

The new mask mandate started today, July 22. The commission will reevaluate it Aug. 17.

Commissioner Jim Gibson said they were talking “about doing something” at the Tuesday meeting, noting that officials have been told by medical advisers that the county is facing a “medical crisis.”

“Yeah, there is probably a more perfect way to address things,” he said, “But you don’t let the crisis just linger for a while until you come up with the perfect solution.”

The mandate does not require the general public to wear masks.

The commission’s decision was based on the Southern Nevada Health District’s July 16 recommendation that everyone, including those vaccinated against COVID-19, wear a face mask in crowded indoor public settings such as grocery stores, malls and casinos.

The health district’s recommendation comes as COVID-19 test positivity rates, case counts and hospitalizations continue to increase in Southern Nevada, which has been designated as a “sustained hotspot” for the disease by the federal government.

Dr. Cortland Lohff, chief medical officer for the Southern Nevada Health District, described the advice as a “simple but also very effective” recommendation in response to a surge in cases that officials fear will cause a proportional uptick in hospitalizations and deaths.

Commissioner Ross Miller said county officials need to better illustrate to the public where the county stands and what could happen if the situation worsens.

“If the public is not abiding by those voluntary recommendations, this will have consequences,” Miller said, suggesting that the health district’s recommendation may still turn into a mandate.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporters Shea Johnson and Mary Hynes contributed to this report.

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

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