LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- COVID-19 cases are climbing. Now anyone working indoors with the public is supposed to be masked up again, but just how effective will this mask mandate be?

Communicable disease expert Brian Labus said the employee mask mandate is unlikely to significantly curb the spread of coronavirus.

COVID-19 cases and positivity rate has nearly tripled in Clark County since early June, a trend that runs parallel with the dropping of Nevada’s mask mandate.

"With the CDC guidance, I thought it was a step in the wrong direction, because people just gave up on it," Labus said.

Since the mandate went away cases have spiked as the more contagious delta variant has emerged as the new threat.

"We have a new variant a new enemy and we have to change our strategy to deal with that," Labus said.

Labus said the current rules can protect the public from sick employees and work place outbreaks, but it does nothing to stop the spread at large events and other crowded places.

"If we had a big event at Allegiant Stadium the people working would have to wear a mask, but 65,000 people that showed up to the event wouldn't,” Labus said. “The mask people would just be a drop in the bucket and really allow for transmission.”

Labus is sounding the alarm for schools too. He predicts only having teachers and not students wear a mask could lead to campus outbreaks.

"If you spend more than 15 minutes in close contact with somebody, which is defined as less than six feet, the exact situation we have with a bunch of people sitting in a classroom," Labus said.

Face mask, taking off mask generic

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends students over the age of two wear masks. Locally, the Clark County School district will require faculty to wear masks, under the county’s new guidelines, but has not announced a plan for students. UNLV and the other colleges in Clark County will follow the county guidelines, which as of now would mean students could go mask-free.

 "The goal is to do whatever we can until we stop this pandemic, and if we don't have everyone vaccinated masks can fill that gap," Labus said.

The employee mask mandate will be re-evaluated when it expires August 17.

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