Southern Nevada jurisdictions only educate, warn noncomplying businesses on mask mandate

If you're seeing more local establishments caring less about enforcing mask-wearing, you're probably not imagining it.
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 9:13 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- As California gets ready to revise its mask mandate, Nevada’s still remains. The enforcement and accountability surrounding noncompliance of mask-wearing in local businesses shifted months ago from citations to “education.”

In other words, the consequences local business owners face for noncompliance are less severe than what they used to be.

At the start of the pandemic, state inspectors for Nevada OSHA made visits to businesses specifically to ensure people were adhering to the face covering rules.

“Initially, the division was conducting proactive business compliance checks,” said Teri Williams, the public information officer of Nevada Department of Business and Industry.

Proof is on the 2020 tab of their website, where you can see a long list of violations, wherein noncomplying businesses received hefty fines.

According to Williams, OSHA still cites violations for mask noncompliance, but only during general, “planned” OSHA inspections, like the check-ins they used to conduct before the pandemic.

She said a major shift happened last May, when the state handed over control of COVID-19 mitigation measures to counties and cities.

For nine months, local municipalities have been in charge of enforcing the Nevada’s mask mandate. But spokespeople from those jurisdictions said enforcement has looked a lot more like education, than penalty.

Clark County said they try to take an educational approach to enforcement. “Enforcement actions vary depending on the circumstances, but most often it’s a verbal warning,” said Stacey Welling, a Clark County spokesperson.

A representative of the city of Las Vegas said they have not issued any citations regarding the indoor mask mandate since the transition.

“The city’s process is to make contact and provide education to the business on the requirements,” said Jace Radke, city spokesman.

Same goes for Henderson.

“The City of Henderson provides noncompliant businesses with information on the state’s mask mandate and has not issued any citation since the start of the latest mask mandate.”

North Las Vegas provided a similar statement.

“The City of North Las Vegas continues to take a very proactive approach to enforcement, with a heavy focus on education. The City will follow up on any complaints that are received and provide information to businesses to help bring them into compliance. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen excellent compliance from our businesses. We will continue to work with Clark County and other jurisdictions and adjust plans as needed,” said Sandy Lopez, public information specialist for North Las Vegas.

As of this week in Nevada, in order to drop the mask mandate, counties must have low to moderate transmission, according to the CDC’s metric standards, and test positivity must be under 10%.

Clark County is still in the “high” category, and test positivity is 19%. By comparison, Los Angeles County is at 8%.