Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos are among the latest gaming resorts in the US to reimplement the mandatory wearing of face masks.
The COVID-19 delta variant is spreading across Mississippi. The state’s four-week case trend has surged 353 percent, fourth-worst in the nation, behind only Florida (+4,552 percent), Tennessee (+413 percent), and Louisiana (+403 percent).
In an effort to slow the coronavirus spread, a few casinos in Mississippi are once again requiring their employees — regardless of vaccination status — to wear face masks while on the job indoors. The decision follows a similar recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and guidance from Mississippi state health officials.
MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming are demanding their casino workers in Biloxi adhere to the reimplemented mandate. The companies respectively operate Beau Rivage and IP Casino Resort. Located just north of Biloxi in D’Iberville, Scarlet Pearl is additionally forcing its workers to don face coverings.
Health experts are criticizing states with low vaccination rates for the COVID-19 spikes. In Mississippi, only 34.2 percent of all adult residents are fully vaccinated. That ranks in the bottom five of the 50 states.
COVID-19 Gulf Storm
Biloxi and Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos are always on high alert for violent tropical storms and hurricanes during the summer and fall. But currently, state reps say locals must do more to prevent the ongoing tidal surge of coronavirus.
Mississippi reported 1,875 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. The delta variant is responsible for 90 percent of the spread and has driven up hospitalizations and the number of patients in intensive care units.
“We always get, ‘What medical conditions do they have? Medical conditions are very common. It could be asthma. It could be eczema. It could be being overweight. Let’s try to protect everyone,” said Mississippi Health Officer Thomas Dobbs.
Let’s not be complacent just because we think we don’t have medical conditions, that this doesn’t apply to us,” Dobbs added.
MGM Resorts, less than a day after requiring all of its indoor casino workers in Las Vegas to wear face masks, says its directive at Beau Rivage makes sense, considering COVID-19 cases in Mississippi are at a six-month high.
“Based on the rising COVID-19 cases in Mississippi, MGM Resorts has temporarily updated its employee mask policy,” the Beau Rivage property announced today. “All employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be required to wear masks effective Thursday, July 29.”
The worker face mask policy also applies to MGM’s Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Ms. MGM adds that though not required, face masks are available for guests. Non-vaccinated guests are required to wear masks, but the casino isn’t requiring proof of vaccination.
Casino Vax Prizes
Treasure Bay Casino in Biloxi is not mandating its employees to wear face masks. But it is encouraging its staff to become fully vaccinated.
The resort is allowing its own workers to find a little bit of luck while tending to their casino positions. Each day, Treasure Bay holds a drawing, with one lucky staffer receiving a $500 cash prize.
To enter, a Treasure Bay worker must provide proof of vaccination to the resort.
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